Unlike some of my colleagues in the tech media, I don't have any particular beef with Walmart. Yes, they sell cheap imported crap, and yes, they under-pay their employees, stiffing both the people who make stuff and the people who sell stuff. But if you object to that strongly enough to actually change your buying habits, you'll soon run out of places to buy things. I do, however, object to the idea of a mobile payment system that works at exactly one store. That's taking the biggest problem with mobile payments as a whole, the lack of inter-operability, and turning it into a selling point. Read More
Now that a KitKat build for the Galaxy Note 3 has leaked, people have started reporting new things that they're finding. Though most of the major features of Google's latest Android version are present, the "tap and pay" option is conspicuously absent. Further, it appears host card emulation has been disabled altogether. This is curious given the fact that Isis Mobile Wallet, which is partially backed by AT&T and nowhere to be found on the official Android 4.3 builds, is preinstalled on the leaked firmware.
Host card emulation, for the purposes of Android devices, allows almost any NFC-equipped device to be used for "tap and go" mobile payments, even if it doesn't have a secure element. Read More
After two years on the market, Google Wallet has failed to gain any kind of meaningful foothold in the mobile payment world. That's the gist of a new report from Bloomberg Businessweek, slamming Google's mobile and NFC payment service as a "money pit" and unlikely to succeed against existing and upcoming competitors. Among the publication's chief complaints are $300 million in investments and acquisitions, and hundreds of developers on staff, all for less than 10 million downloads in the Google Play Store.
One reason cited for the lack of users is obvious: in the US, Google Wallet's primary target market, Sprint is still the only major carrier that allows users to download the app. Read More
Isis launched its mobile payments platform in Salt Lake City, UT and Austin, TX today, in a limited, initial rollout that's probably best viewed as a tech test more than an NFC payments panacea. We've know for quite some time that these would be Isis' launch markets (after numerous delays), and we also had a basic idea of how the system would work: NFC. What wasn't so widely-known is the fact that Isis uses the SIM secure element method to store payment credentials.
This is in contrast to Google Wallet's method, where your virtual MasterCard (used as the medium through which your payments are processed) is stored in a secure element that is typically included as a part of the NFC chip. Read More
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.
The trial program will last three months, with startup Paydiant overseeing five retailers in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Read More
This morning, Google had a Wallet developer Q&A session on the Google Developers blog, featuring Robin Dua, the product manager for Wallet.
Dua hinted that person to person payments could be headed to Wallet soon, so be on the lookout for that. He also emphasized Wallet's focus on getting small businesses on board with the company's loyalty reward and offer platforms.
More interestingly, when asked in a viewer question why Wallet was only supported on a limited number of carriers, Dua responded that Google was in active negotiations with "a number" of carriers, and that he "hope[d] to have some new partnerships to announce soon." While clearly implying that there is a possibility of failure, the fact that Dua spoke to such negotiations at all is encouraging. Read More
Yesterday, a rumor at the Wall Street Journal stated that major retailers like Walmart, Target, and 7-Eleven were in the process of teaming up to create their own mobile payment solution. They sure didn't waste much time on making it official, as this morning that solution was announced as "MCX" - or, Merchant Customer Exchange. Sexy.
This is a big deal, though. And it's a big deal because of the names in the headline above - quite literally most places where Americans buy things have come together to create a mobile wallet system. But it's not just Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. Read More
Holy crap - Google Wallet just dropped a bomb on everyone and announced that the service now supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. We sort of suspected something like this would happen, and Google has managed to do it by making Wallet payments partially cloud-based, as opposed to a fully embedded system.
This means Wallet will work offline for the actual payment (it stores an encrypted card ID in the NFC chip), but does require an active internet connection if you want switch payment options or add a new one. Your card should stick in the system once selected, and as long as it is selected, payment should continue to work offline. Read More
Well, we knew it was a possibility, and given Google Wallet's painfully slow adoption rate (by carriers and payment processors), rumors today from NFCTimes that the service's sole remaining partner Sprint is coming up with an alternative aren't exactly surprising.
NFCTimes says the service will be called "Touch," and will utilize a "secure element" system like Wallet (a physical chip) in order to securely process mobile payments. Likely by necessity, this would mean the end of support for Google Wallet on Sprint handsets released after the launch of the new "Touch" service. Two embedded payment systems would be confusing to average consumers, and Sprint will have much more control over its own service (as well as revenue from it), as compared to no control with Google Wallet - undoubtedly something it wants. Read More
Mobile payment providers. Yeah, I'm already getting a little sleepy thinking about them, too. Let's face it, they're not the most exciting topic in the world, but whenever we talk about how people spend their money, you know there are lots of companies out there eagerly eying the potential of various new payment technologies with great interest. Among such companies are cell phone carriers, and the reason why should be obvious: smartphones with NFC are ideal platforms for next-generation payment systems.
We know Google has already figured this out. Wallet was launched back in September of 2011, though only on the Sprint Nexus S 4G, and only with MasterCard as a launch partner. Read More