Bling Nation is trying to make mobile payment much more social with its FanConnect product.
If you don’t know, Bling Nation turns your mobile phone into a credit card using Near-Field Communication technology via a sticker you put on your handset. It works with a handful of vendors across the nation (mostly in the Bay Area) and multiple banks.
The FanConnect option will try and leverage things like Facebook and the check-in craze to increase mobile payment adoption. End users will have the ability to “like” businesses and earn rewards – this essentially adds store rewards cards to Bling Nation.
For the business owner, this enables locations to easily jump into social media marketing and the mobile payment company will offer things analytics and customer-relations management tools.
“FanConnect allows brick-and-mortar businesses to take advantage of the growing number of consumers using social networks to shop by engaging their best customers and turning them into fans at checkout,” said Meyer Malka, co-CEO for Bling Nation, in a prepared statement. “This enhancement complements our existing service, which already offers businesses the ability to easily create loyalty programs, realize payment processing cost-savings and security benefits.”
Anytime you can incorporate social media in an easy way for retailers is a good thing but you have to wonder how well Bling Nation will overcome the larger obstacles of mobile payment.
It’s still tough to get retailers to roll out NFC point-of-sales machines, as it’s added costs and some would argue that if retailers are going to massively revamp, they might as well use go all out with various types of technology.
There’s also competition from other startups like Mobile Pay USA are tackling this space using technology that doesn’t require new hardware for the consumer or retailers. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are also working on a payment system with NFC and that could be really, really good for Bling Nation (think: acquisition) or really, really bad.