Is your iPhone a mobile wallet?
by Keris Lahiff
So your smartphone acts as a Game Boy, address book, browser and street directory – so what? The next development is looking to integrate your iPhone and credit card in a move that could see you simply waving your device at a reader to make purchases. Then you can add mobile wallet to your smartphone’s capabilities.
In a month-long trial conducted by ANZ and Visa, 50 volunteers have outfitted their iPhones with a built-in memory chip that scans as a credit card, allowing them to make purchases of up to $100 with no signature.
The future of the technology – a memory chip directly inserted into smartphones, including Google Android and BlackBerry models – is currently being developed. The system, called Near Field Communication (NFC), uses a radio frequency, similar to Bluetooth, to transmit data between peripheral components and devices.
And, while there have been rumours of NFC being integrated into the next generation of iPhone, it might be a few years until the concept becomes mainstream. Mobile companies, including Nokia and Sagem along with Apple, have expressed their wish to release mobile devices with NFC capabilities in 2012.
According to a recent Mobio Identity Systems survey in the US, 94 per cent of Americans said they would be interested in mobile devices equipped with NFC payment technology. And while Japanese consumers have been enjoying the technology for the last five years – using it in lieu of train passes and the like – consumers in the Western world will have to hold on a wee bit longer, with major tech developers dragging their feet.
With the demand clearly there, tech giants had better jump on board to capitalise on this growing trend, or risk losing out to early-adopting competitors.
Published on: Wednesday, March 23, 2011