How would you like to get rid of those heavy coins in your pockets? Well, thanks to new mobile payment options, like mobile wallets, our purses and pockets will become noticeably lighter with no cumbersome coins to keep track of.
Starbucks Coffee now even has an iPhone app that allows you to scan the barcode from your phone without ever having to reach into your pocket for cash. More recently, Google has introduced a new technology to their Android based smartphones, called near field communication (NFC). Unlike the Starbucks app, NFC does not require barcode scanning. Instead the only action required is hovering the smartphone over a receiver and payment is transmitted automatically. Although, not all Google smartphones are equipped with the NFC chip, Google is doing their best to make this technology available to more consumers as quickly as possible. According to the article “Bringing Mobile Wallets into the Mainstream” by Mike Freeman, “Nearly 34 million mobile devices were shipped last year with NFC capability.” Apple has yet to introduce NFC technology into the iPhone. Once that happens, experts believe Apple will completely transform the idea of mobile wallets.
Read an excerpt from this article.
Near field communication is a short-range wireless technology that transmits secure data between devices at about 1.5 inches or less. Various types of NFC technology have been around for years. There is a solid base of NFC phones in Japan, where they’re used for things such as buying fares on commuter trains. In the U.S. and Europe, mass transit “smart cards” — including ones made by San Diego’s Cubic Corp. — use a form of NFC technology in the chip embedded in the plastic cards and scanned at the gate.
Perhaps the best-known NFC champion right now is Google Wallet. Introduced last fall, it is essentially a piece of software that can tap into NFC technology on a mobile phone. For now, Google Wallet is available on Nexus S and a few other smartphones in the United States. Sprint is the only wireless carrier supporting it. Retailers must have MasterCard’s PayPass readers to allow Google Wallet to work via NFC. There are more than 300,000 such readers deployed, but they’re not everywhere.
Several software-based mobile wallet apps in the market today — including mobile gift cards services — compete with NFC technology. But NFC supporters think the chip inside the phone will beat out apps by being fast, easy and everywhere, essentially mimicking credit cards without the plastic.