Tired of carrying your wallet around? Consider the new Mobile-Payment service which will be enabled using Near field communication (NFC). It is expected that Google will unveil its plan to use this function this week. However, early plans only include Android operated phones on Sprint in certain parts of the US, using hardware and software from VeriFone Systems Inc. and ViVOtech Inc. to run the service.
Back in March, Google announced that they are partnering with MasterCard and Citigroup to allow their customers to use their debit and credit cards from their Android smartphones. Google also paid for the installation of thousands of NFC short-range systems from VeriFoneSystems Inc. at stores in New York and San Francisco. This shows that Google expects the demand for these services to be high. Issues with security also arise when the plans were talked about. However, Schmidt, CEO of Google, said that having your credit or debit card on your phone is actually more secure than carrying it in your wallet as it offers greater level of authentication and encrypts information. Currently, there is only one android smartphone sold in the US which comes with NFC, the Nexus S. More are expected to be out soon and researchers expect 40 million of these phones to be sold this year. Google also includedNFC in its future advertising methods.
Google is not the only one with plans for NFC while T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have formed a joint-venture payment system called Isis which is set to offer these services in 2 states in the US. Microsoft has also expressed interest in including this technology into their coming phones with Windows Phone7. Nokia has already included it into their new C7-00 which is already available in the US market. Apple is said to have included it into their upcoming iPhone5 and Blackberry has already announced that it will include the system into the Bold Touch 9900 and the 9930. Samsung and Visa have come up with plans to team up and offer mobile payments via NFC on smartphones next year. Even websites like Amazon.com is said to be exploring possibilities to use this services.
NFC tags enable them to perform contact-free functions such as unlocking doors, paying for goods, launching phone calls or exchanging data in a range of less than 0.2 meters. Its 0.1 second set up time makes it perfect to be used to replace the existing electronic keys used in new cars and to exchange data between two devices which was a hassle using Bluetooth technology. For now, mobile phone manufacturers are only focusing on using it for p2p payments (transferring money between two phones), and for retail purchases. It would work exactly like a smart access card or a Toll-payment card at the counters in super markets and other outlets, but linking it to a debit card or credit card would give endless possibilities in mobile commerce. The total mobile transaction is expected to be $245 billion by 2014 according to market researcher, Gartner. According to another research done by Borrell Associates Inc. U.S. spending on mobile coupons may rise from $370 million to $6.53 billion in 2014.