Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Cellphone based payment systems have existed in other parts of the world for years. Japan, Europe, and Canada all have some form of swipe-your-phone-to-pay system in place, and yet the service has never made its way to the US.
That's all about to change as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all rumored to be backing the NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile-payment technology. This works by embedding a chip in the phone itself that acts much the same way those tap-to-pay credit cards work. Except that with a phone, you potentially have the option to bill the purchase to your phone bill, rather than a credit card. So it's easy to see why the mobile carriers are interested in this...they'd get a small cut each time someone swiped their phone.
The implications for location-based services like Foursquare, or even coupon services like Groupon are huge, too. Imagine how easy it would be for a merchant to accept a Groupon discount from someone who has the app on their phone, for example. The possibilities are endless.
No official announcement has been made from the three carriers, but if they really are all working together on this system, we could see it take off in a big way in the coming years. Oh yeah, and the upcoming versions of Android will reportedly have support for these payment chips built right in. [via AndroidGuys]