It has been a long time since most of us have walked into a gas station to pay cash for our purchase while filling up our cars. The old days of writing checks has vanished as most consumers pay for items using debit cards. Now consumers might have the chance to pay for a purchase without ever having to remove the wallet from his pocket. Near Field Communication, or NFC, is getting closer to a reality than ever before. Reports from earlier today stated that the Wall Street Journal noted NFC related mobile payments were being “dialed back”, but Isis, a mobile commerce venture has stated otherwise since that report.
Isis, which has been working with VISA and MasterCard for months, says the WSJ report is false and that they are moving forward with NFC type payment systems, not “dialing back”. Besides VISA and MasterCard, Isis is in partnership with AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA. Other reports said that Discover and Barclaybank are also part of the venture.
Most wireless companies are on board with the system and want the personal information of the user stored in the SIM card. Some phone makers don’t like that idea and would rather see the secure data embedded in an NVC chip or in the phone itself. Noting that if the secure data had to be stored on the SIM card, companies like Verizon Wireless would have to start selling all of their smartphones with SIM cards which is does not do currently.
One more hoop for Isis to jump through is that from retailers who don’t want to deal with smaller credit card companies like Discover. At this point, some retailers would have to upgrade their checkouts to include support for NFC card readers in smartphones or compatible software in order to accept NFC type payments. Retailers like technology for things like increasing sales, reducing fraud or theft and lowering their total cost of doing business. Other than that, retailers don’t really need anything else.
I think it’s obvious that Isis is on track to take the action of making a payment one step further, but most consumers will have to come a long way to feel safe and confident the system will be fool proof. Are their consumers that live by their Smartphone? The short answer is yes, but will those users feel safe at the end of the day making a purchase with that Smartphone, even if it didn’t seem like they did?