BlackBerry Maker Gets Visa Approval on NFC Mobile-Payment Solution
RIM's NFC-based mobile-payment solution has been approved by Visa. It enables carriers to support payments on any NFC-enabled smartphone.Research In Motion won't be left out of the growing mobile-payment market. The BlackBerry maker announced Jan. 16 that Visa has approved its Secure Element Manager (SEM) solution, which enables mobile payments not just on BlackBerry smartphones but any device equipped with near-field communication (NFC) technology. "The approval from Visa of RIM's SEM solution is an important step in that it will enable carriers to support Visa-issuing banks and financial institutions," Frank Maduri, senior director of NFC Services and Trusted Service Manager (TSM) product management at RIM, said in a statement. "We now offer carriers a robust solution with around-the-clock global support that works on any NFC-capable device and meets the stringent technology and usability guidelines for Visa." The announcement is among the final puzzle pieces RIM is putting into place as it prepares to present its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 platform and smartphones Jan. 30. The highly secure nature of the BlackBerry platform—which makes the SEM solution a natural fit—made RIM's devices the handsets of choice in regulated industries, as well as less stringently overseen enterprises. But the mainstream appeal of Apple's iPhone and Android-running devices like the Galaxy S III has been more than RIM's aging handset line can compete against. With its upcoming devices and refreshed platform, RIM is hoping to maintain its enterprise appeal, while also attracting consumers and offering a strong consumer experience—which means lots of games, applications and out-of-the-office perks.
Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have all committed to carrying the new handsets, and RIM has said that its carrier partners around the world are excited about what they've seen. More than 150 carriers had begun the lab-entry process, CEO Thorsten Heins said during RIM's Dec. 20, 2012, earnings call.