Tag Archives | mobile payments

Naratte’s Zoosh Does NFC Without the NFC Part

If you polled mobile pundits about what the next big thing was going to be, Near Field Communications (NFC) might take the top spot. The technology, which allows devices to exchange data with a quick touch, is theoretically going to change the way people pay for stuff. But it’ll only do that once most phones come with NGC technology built in–and today, only a handful of phones, such as Google and Samsung’s Nexus S and Nokia’s Astound, are ready to go.

That opens up a window of opportunity for a startup called Naratte. It’s created a technology called Zoosh that lets virtually any phone perform NFC-like tricks without needing to support NFC. Zoosh does that by using phones’ speakers and microphones to transmit data encoded in audio at ultrasonic frequencies.  The company showed me several demos last week, including making PayPal-style payments by tapping two phones together and digital loyalty cards and coupons that could be redeemed by touching a phone to an inexpensive gizmo that hooks up to a retailer’s payment-processing terminal. (The coupon was in the form of a MMS message with video and embedded Zoosh audio–pretty clever.)

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Google Wallet? I’m Going to Need Some Convincing

I’m not a luddite. I don’t have an instinctive distrust of Google. But my gut reaction to Google Wallet–Google’s new NFC-based system that will let people make payments, receive “loyalty” rewards, and perform other retail transactions by tapping their phones–isn’t wildly enthusiastic. I’m trying to figure out why.

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Google Mobile Payments: Don’t Get Too Excited Yet

All bets are on Google launching a mobile payment platform with Sprint on Thursday, allowing people to pay for goods and services with their smartphones.

The mobile payment concept, which relies on technology called near-field communications (NFC) embedded in smartphones, has a lot of potential. In the long haul, it may eventually replace the need for credit cards. But I wouldn’t get too excited about this rumored announcement just yet — assuming that is what Google will talk about at a press event in New York on Thursday.

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The Truth About Square

There’s lots of talk today on mobile payment processor Square’s outstanding results. 500,000 readers shipped, 1 million transactions so far this month, $3 million in transactions per day.

That’s impressive. There really is a real need out there for the everyday consumer to have a method to accept good old plastic. I can tell you personally that I rarely carry cash anymore: it’s just so much simpler to swipe.

Square’s rates aren’t horrible (although not great either): 2.75% for each swiped card, or 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually entered ones. So its not surprising they’re doing well.

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Visa Close to a “Digital Wallet”

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the so-called “digital wallet” — take, for example, the amount of coverage on Technologizer (see here, here, and here) — ut most of it has revolved around NFC. Of course, you need an NFC-capable device to take advantage of that.

Visa is working on a non-NFC solution that aims to make the process of online purchases both from the desktop and mobile phone a lot easier, the New York Times’ Digits blog reports. Essentially, Visa would associate a consumer’s credit card number with a set of credentials. These would be valid across any participating site.

Consumers would only need to sign in to pay for their purchases. It’s not clear whether Visa’s payment offering would also negate the need to enter address information as well; that would certainly be nice.

The service is set to be launched by the end of the year, likely first in social and online gaming, and then to traditional e-retail later on. The move also will likely dovetail with the credit card provider’s efforts in NFC, and its already announced service to send payments to any Visa card electronically.

Like I’ve said before, 2011 appears to be the year of NFC and mobile payments. It’s just a matter now of actually getting one of these services live and available to the general public.

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Sprint to Go it Alone With Mobile Payments

Sprint was the odd man out when the other major wireless carriers–Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile —announced a partnership with Discover to support wireless payments on mobile devices last year. However with that system possibly not ready until 2012, there may be an opening.

The company told Bloomberg that it is already working on a system with payment vendors and handset makers, and it plans to have it in place this year. While so-called near field communication (NFC) support would likely not be enough to attract customers to the brand itself, it certainly would give Sprint some bragging rights.

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Report: Microsoft Plans On Mobile Payments for Windows Phone

Microsoft is not going to be left behind when it comes to mobile payments, if a report from Bloomberg today is correct. The newswire’s sources claim that the Redmond company is already working to enable Near Field Communication (NFC) in Windows Phone 7, and the first devices with the technology may debut later this year.

Bloomberg had also reported that Google was set to offer its own NFC solution, aiming to test the technology in New York City and San Francisco later this year through a partnership with Verifone. Rumors of NFC in the iPhone have persisted as well, although there has been conflicting reports over the last week or two on whether it would make it to the “iPhone 5.”

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Visa Moves in On PayPal’s Turf with Payment Service

PayPal is about to get some competition from one of its own partners as Visa announced a new personal payments service on Wednesday. The offering would allow anyone from a participating bank to send payments directly to any Visa account, whether it be a credit, debit, or prepay card.

Visa said it needed to make some changes to its backend to allow its partners to accept incoming payments, as well as changes to the network itself. The creditor has partnered with CashEdge and Fiserv to handle the person-to-person transactions — Visa itself would not be directly involved.

To send a payment, the payer would need to know the payee’s 16-digit Visa account number, e-mail address, or phone number. Once sent, the payment would show up in the users account. This could be used in a number of ways — for example, making sure your child at college has money on his prepaid Visa, or that friend paying you back for that item you charged to your Visa credit card, etc.

Visa says the payment service should be available from participating financial institutions beginning in the second half of this year.


Google Looks To Test Mobile Payments in NYC, SF

Mobile payments using so-called Near-Field Communication have been a hot topic these days, whether it be the rumored addition of the technology to the iPhone 5 (or maybe not), or banks such as Bank of America looking to cash in on the trend.

Enter Google, which according to Bloomberg is planning to test the technology within four months in New York and San Francisco.

The search giant would pay for the installation of NFC-equipped cash registers produced by Verifone. To pay, the consumer would simply tap their mobile device on a unit equipped to read the chip built into the phone. It’s not entirely clear how the payments would be handled, but Bloomberg says a consumer’s banking account could be combined with loyalty and gift cards from the retailers and even coupons.

In any case, whether or not NFC actually catches on will be directly affected by whether or not the phone manufacturers themselves include the technology on the phone. AT&T and Verizon last year teamed up with Discover on its own system, which is expected to begin testing shortly.

BlackBerry manufacturer RIM has also said that it plans to build NFC support into its devices, and the Nexus S is one of the first phones widely available in the US with the technology. That said, a good majority of manufacturers have stayed mostly silent on their plans.

If NFC is to succeed, then this is most definitely going to have to change.

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Bank of America to Test Mobile Payments

Bank of America expects to begin a test in New York City in September to see if a system the company has set up to allow consumers to pay for purchases using their mobile phones is viable. Initially, BP gas stations, New York City taxis, Burger King, McDonald’s, Home Depot, and the Walgreen’s and CVS drug store chains will accept the mobile payments.

The test would run through the end of the year, according to a Reuters report.

The system works through a specially-equipped micro SD card that is inserted into the phone. The technology was created by DeviceFidelity, and uses Near-Field Communication (NFC) to communicate with the payment device. A solution is also available for the iPhone, but involves using a special case to be installed on the phone.

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