In a major boost for the mobile payment system, Visa and Google have announced a partnership under which the former has given the worldwide license of its Visa payWave, an innovative Near Field Communication (NFC) -based payment technology, to the later.
This means that one of the largest payment gateways (Visa) will be available for the largest operating system (Android). Visa will not only benefit the Android ecosystems’ NFC ability but also other mobile operating systems like iOS as Google Wallet supports them as well.
Mobile payment system is touted as the next major step for the mobile phones which could turn these handheld devices into virtual wallets with which one could easily do shopping without the need of any debit/credit card or even hard cash.
Companies are making use of the NFC, a short range wireless communication technology, to make this happen. For example, Google had earlier launched a service called Google Wallet. Payment gateways like Vida and Master Card have also done trials and shown interest in this new system, lured by the vast pool of people carrying mobile phones around the world.
However, mobile wallet phenomenon could not take off due to the absence of the point of sale equipment, which is the device at the shop which can read and process transaction using NFC. But with Visa on-board, which has sizable presence in most parts of the world including India, this will also be taken care.
Visa payWave enables consumers to make fast and secure payments at retail locations by waving their mobile phone in front of a payment terminal and is currently accepted at hundreds of thousands of retail locations worldwide (India is missing from these locations but is soon going to be added).
The agreement sets the stage for Visa-issuing banks worldwide to enable Visa account holders to add their credit, debit and prepaid accounts to Google Wallet — a mobile application that turns a smartphone into a digital wallet.
“Mobile technology is transforming how people pay for goods and services,” said Jim McCarthy, global head of product, Visa. “This agreement builds on Visa’s strategy of enabling consumers to make mobile payments with whatever device they choose using the trusted accounts they already have.”
NFC enabled mobiles are flooding the market with Android 2.3 having NFC support. Bada (Samsung’s mobile OS) was missing on the functionality but has been added in the Bada 2.0 upgrade and the phones will arrive in India around Diwali.
Apple will also include NFC support in iOS 5 which is expected to be launched along with iPhone 5 this October. Nokia has also added NFC support in Symbian with Belle update. Though Microsoft is still to add the functionality, it is expected to do so soon.