Thursday, January 06, 2011

Google developing NFC-based mobile payment service: report

Is Google prepping a payment service that would utilize the company's new near-field communication (NFC) feature added to the Samsung Nexus S and future Android handsets? It's possible, and Google's Eric Schmidt actually mentioned the future of NFC when the Web 2.0 conference, although he did not mention Google in the same breath as mobile payments.

Instead, Schmidt did say this much:
"You'll be able to walk in a store and do commerce. You'd bump for everything and eventually replace credit cards."
Business Week says that Google is not just considering a service, but is already building a payment and advertising service that would allow users to pay by tapping or swiping their smartphones at checkout, according to "two people familiar with the plans."

As BW notes, Google Ventures, the company's VC arm, has invested in Corduro, a developer of mobile-payment solutions based in Texas. Meanwhile, in 2010, Google acquired Zetawire, a Canadian startup that has a patent on a method for combining a phone-based "wallet" with a reward-and-loyalty program.

Google doesn't have a monopoly on such technology. There are plenty looking into NFC payment services, and in fact, Japan is ahead of most. A 2009 report showed that already, at that time, 15 percent of Japanese mobile phone users were using their phones to purchase products in stores.

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