Reports earlier this morning tipped that Google's NFC-based mobile payment service called "Wallet" would be launching first on the nation's third largest carrier sometime today. And indeed, Google has confirmed now that the Wallet app will begin rolling out to Nexus S 4G handsets via an over-the-air update.
Apple's iPhone 5 is tipped to bring NFC among its various charms, but Korean carrier KT Telecom isn't willing to wait. It has launched an iPhone 4 NFC payments system, using the iCarte 420K NFC case, with a prepaid credit card supported by local transit, retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues like cinemas. Some places are offering discounts on services if people use the new KT system.
Google Wallet, the wireless payments system the search giant unveiled back in May, could well officially launch today according to a new leak. A document reportedly being sent to Google's payment partners, and leaked to TechCrunch, suggests that the NFC-based mobile money service will be enabled for the Nexus S 4G sometime on September 19.
Now this certainly isn't the first time we've seen a credit card reader on a smartphone, that's for sure, anyone whose been in an Apple store in the past year or so will tell you how odd (yet awesome) it feels to have the sales counter literally be every Apple rep in the store, but what Verizon is providing here is a wholly new vision of the concept. What this "free" credit card hardware represents is an inexpensive way for everyone with a smartphone or tablet to get their hands on the ability to accept payments anywhere and at any time. Have the folks at Verizon lost their mind, giving this solution away for free, or have they hit the nail on the head?
The competition in the electronic payments market continues to rage, with both Google and eBay looking beyond their current online and mobile payment options in an attempt to coerce more users and vendors to sign up. eBay's PayPal division, Forbes reports, is readying a trial of offline "point of sale" transaction support for brick and mortar retailers that will kick off later in 2011, while Google is setting up a credit card arm, Reuters reports, which will offer advertisers a way to buy ads now and pay for them later.
The mobile payments arena was starting to look very fragmented with several different players each attempting to offer their own NFC-based system. Google announced their Google Wallet service in partnership with MasterCard, Visa hinted at its own service, while Discover teamed up with the ISIS network. But surprisingly, in an announcement today, it was revealed that MasterCard, Visa, and American Express have now all joined ISIS.
eBay may have bought mobile payments specialist Zong, but that doesn't mean that PayPal will disappearing from the mobile line-up. A new PayPal for iPhone update has been released, with a streamlined UI and more control over previous transactions that used to require a trip to your desktop browser.
Online auction giant eBay has bought mobile payments specialist Zong, spending $240m on the startup despite already having PayPal onboard. According to eBay, the interest in Zong is down to its existing connections with mobile operators, which allows users to charge items directly to their monthly bill.
In a strange move, MasterCard has gone on to partner with CSI for their own mobile payments app. The "tap to pay" convenience of mobile payments is expected to really expand next year, with competing services coming from the Google Walletservice, Visa, and ISIS. MasterCard was a partner for Google's Wallet service, so its not certain why they've branched off to push out a separate mobile wallet app.
There are a lot of companies betting that people in the US and other countries are going to embrace mobile payments in a big way. NFC technology is the direction many of those firms are taking to allow payments on the go. There are other methods too though with some using sound like Naratte and other taking a different round altogether. One of the firms taking a different, and more obvious route, to mobile payments is Card.io.