NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile payment technology has been around for quite some time now, yet without the support of major financial institutions it has failed to go mainstream. All of this could change in the next few months, however, with Visa recently approving BlackBerry’s (formerly known as RIM) new Secure Element Manager solution for NFC mobile payments. Visa’s approval of the technology, which stores a user’s security credentials on their SIM card, will allow carriers to work with Visa-issuing banks around the world to standardize and manage mobile payments. Until this happens, there are still several options available to people looking to mobilize their preferred method of payment.
Pay on the go
For those of us without NFC-capable devices, there are still several ways to make and receive mobile payments. Square is the most popular, with its Mobile Card Reader enabling anyone with an iOS or Android device to accept credit card payments. From farmers’ markets to pop-up restaurants, merchants of all sizes can offer their customers the convenience of paying by credit card without the excessive fees. Users can also link their debit and credit cards to Square Wallet and use their name to pay at participating retailers.
Another option is Level Up, a new app that lets users pay with their phone. The app generates a unique code when a credit or debit card is linked to a user’s account. Participating retailers can scan the code, which will automatically facilitate the transaction using the linked card and email the user a digital receipt. Discount credits and coupon incentives can also be added to the user’s account.
Cash is king
New developments in mobile payment technologies aren’t just limited to the world of plastic. Start-ups such as PayNearMe allow people to make online purchases offline. When selected as a payment method, users will receive a PayNearMe Card that they can bring to a local 7-Eleven and pay their balance in cash. For people without credit cards, services such as this enable them to enjoy the benefits of shopping online while ensuring they can continue to use their preferred method of payment.
Credit and debit cards aren’t the only things in our wallet getting a digital makeover. Apps like Gyft allow people to store, receive and send gift cards from their smartphones. Further wallet space saving can be achieved with coupon management apps like ShopWise or Checkout51. For those looking to truly shrink their wallets, new digital currencies such as BitCoin could replace piles of loose change and crinkled bills.
Will you be trading in your wallet for a digital version?
After a successful stint in the subway stations of Korea, Tesco is bringing a virtual grocery store to the departure lounge in London’s Gatwick Airport. While waiting for their flights, travellers will be able to shop for food and household items by using a barcode-scanning app on their smartphones. Best of all, they can schedule a delivery date up to three weeks in advance, ensuring that they won’t be coming home to an empty fridge.