Visa, the company that probably gave you a few debt issues as a young college student, is releasing an iPhone case that enables wireless payments. Here’s how it works: The case is a glorified microSD card reader. The microSD card is what holds all the NFC circuitry required to make payments. It’s built by DeviceFidelity. Now I know what a lot of you are thinking right now, the IntoMobile team is thinking the same thing, why not simply release DeviceFidelity’s solution for the millions of smartphones that already have microSD card slots? Android, Symbian, RIM, most featurephones, all these platforms have microSD card support … yet Visa decided it was wise to build a case for an iPhone.
We’re just thrilled that the mobile payment space is finally starting to get some traction. With Square recently becoming available to everyone, now this … it shouldn’t be more than a year or two until you’re either using, or know someone who uses, wireless enabled payments on their mobile phone. Just last week Juniper Research predicted that NFC payments are going to increase by a factor of four over the next four years.
I’ll believe it when I see it. The problem here isn’t the technology. NFC can be shoved into any number of smartphones today. It’s the banking industry. Who will “own” the customer once NFC takes off? Will the bank own the relationship to the NFC chip? Will the operator? Will a consumer be able to switch between banks without the need to switch mobile phones? What about MasterCard and American Express, where are they in all of this? Visa is trying to stay ahead of the curve by being early, but time and time again it’s been demonstrated that the company that doesn’t something first, isn’t necessarily the same company that does said thing the best. Every time Steve Jobs gets on stage, he pounds his chest about how many credit cards the company has on file. Wait until he decides to launch “iPay” or whatever he decides to call it.
[Via: Mobile Crunch]