Whether you trust them or not, mobile payments are around the corner.
The expected launch of Google Wallet and other competing services by Visa, American Express and others this year will bring mobile payments to NFC-enabled (Near Field Communications) phones.
This means you can literally leave your wallet at home and only carry your ID, an NFC-equipped phone and a set of keys.
What is NFC and How Does it Work?
NFC allows for simple data exchange (account information) between two devices (your phone and payment gateway) by way of physical touch.
For NFC to function, it requires an initiator (your phone) and a target (the payment gateway at a retailer).
Step 1 – The initiator (in this case your phone’s NFC chip) generates a radio frequency (RF) field with a range of about 4 centimeters.
Step 2 – The target (payment gateway) picks up the RF field and receives the data contained.
The data here are your credentials for the payment method or service you are using. This will enable the transaction to be processed much like it would with a traditional terminal except you wouldn’t use a physical credit card.
What are the options?
Even though the mobile payments space is still in its infancy there are some big players setting up camp to use this new technology. Among them you will find Google, Visa, MasterCard and even mobile carriers (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile).
As of this writing the services listed above are still unavailable, but you should see them launch later this year (Google) and the beginning of 2012 (Isis and Visa Wallet).
What about phones?
There are currently 20 NFC-enabled phones on the market (see list below adapted from NFC page on Wikipedia).
- Nokia N9
- Nokia C7-00
- Nokia 6212
- Nokia 6131
- Nokia 3220
- Nokia 5140(i)
- Samsung S5230
- Samsung SGH-X700 NFC
- Samsung D500E
- SAGEM my700X Contactless
- LG 600V contactless
- Motorola L7 (SLVR)
- Benq T80
- Sagem Cosyphone
- Google Nexus S
- Google Nexus S 4G
- Samsung Galaxy S II (some versions)
- Samsung Wave 578
- BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930
- Turkcell T20
What do you think about mobile payments in general? Any concerns?
Images via GPlus.com