26
Sep
bofa

While Google and the ISIS consortium duke it out over the future of Near Field Communication and the payment systems that use it, one of the largest financial institutions in the US had decided to ignore it. Reuters reports that Bank Of America is testing a new system that will only require retailers to display a single image. Ideally this would negate the need for new hardware for both sellers and buyers - all that's required is an Android or iOS device with a camera and a mobile connection.

wm_IMG_9512

The trial program will last three months, with startup Paydiant overseeing five retailers in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. While details are scarce, it sounds like they're using a single image (probably a QR code or something similar) and some online authentication to connect an app on the user's phone with his or her credit/debit card. As a means to an end, it would be much simpler than NFC, if not quite as safe.

It's hard not to think about the fact that Apple very pointedly left NFC out of the latest iPhone, in favor of yet another proprietary system. Paydiant's trial runs may have found a way around that with a relatively universal solution - something that's music to the ears of retailers wanting to get in on the ground floor of mobile payments. The fact that Bank of America (with tens of millions of active customers) is looking into it is certainly promising.

[Via Reuters]

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • YodaRocks

    Another case of Apple winning a standards' war?

    • mesmorino

      Hardly. More a case of Apple trying to force it's nonsensical "standards" down its users' throats

    • Jeremiah Rice

      I'd have to agree with mesmorino. Apple's only succeeded in forcing corporations to try and find a more open solution.

    • Asphyx

      It doesn't matter what standard the hardware guys come up with. The system that is used will be determined by the payment companies and banks not the hardware guys.

  • Samuel Riksfjord

    Why is it easier? Just tap with NFC, but you have to scan with a camera for this... #confused.

    • azsxdc

      Because not every phone has NFC but pretty much every phone has a camera, it's not just the iPhone that is lacking NFC.

      • Stormprobe

        But all future phones (maybe not iPhones) will have NFC. So why not have it work with both camera and/or NFC? That way if you don't have NFC (or you have an iPhone) then you can fall back on the camera.

        • dwasifar karalahishipoor

          I agree, no reason not to have both.

      • Stormprobe

        But all future phones (maybe not iPhones) will have NFC. So why not have it work with both camera and/or NFC? That way if you don't have NFC (or you have an iPhone) then you can fall back on the camera.

        • azsxdc

          I agree, no reason not to have both.

  • Asphyx

    Makes a lot more sense to do it this way than NFC. For one it's safer and less proned to someone hacking the NFC signal and it does allow pretty much every phone able to be supported in the payment system.
    The real issue with all this quick pay proccess is the lack of any ONE WAY that all the payment systems use. Paypal should have the edge here and could take the lead in developing a standard. Will They?

    • Stormprobe

      NFC on phones are not susceptible to hacking. It is safer than credit cards because credit cards have no security. To use NFC, you have to turn on the screen on your phone and enter your NFC pin, and then it scannable only while the screen is on. Then the NFC will time out between 1 to 30 minutes (this is a user selectable setting). After it times out, it will no longer be scannable even if the phone's screen is on, so it can't be hacked.

  • dayechild

    Is this the same bank that was in the news for charging their customers a fee for using their debit cards?