Admit it, we all feel slightly annoyed when the person in front of us at the checkout line pulls out cash from their wallet. We are living in a day and age when paying with “plastic” has become the norm. An even simpler solution that is slowly gaining popularity is the option to pay via smartphone. All you have to do is scan the device at checkout, which has your credit card or debit card information pre-loaded, and you’re done! Of course, it took a long time for the general population to accept card payments as a viable option as well, and only now is there a growing public support for the smartphone pay system.
Google was one of the first to arrive on scene with their Google Wallet app, but they’ve struggled to gain mainstream popularity because of security concerns and a lack of vendor support. In an increasingly competitive market, it looks like Google is planning to release the next iteration of its mobile payment app, Google Wallet 2.0. It is expected that apart from NFC applications, Wallet 2.0 will also emphasize cloud-based payment, offers, and promotion possibilities. The recent acquisition of TxVia by Google is further indication that they are certainly taking the “Wallet wars” seriously. NFC Times dutifully reports that more information or even an official announcement is possible during Google I/O at the end of this month.
Major carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have already started a partnership to release their own mobile payment system called Isis. Although Sprint has been one of the supporters of Google Wallet, with all their high-end Android devices coming with the app pre-loaded, it looks like Sprint is now looking to leave their own mark in the mobile payment system race. Sprint’s app, called “Touch,” is expected to compete with both the Google Wallet and the Isis Wallet.
AndroidCentral got their hands on leaked slides that show how the Sprint payment system is expected to work. The system looks to work almost identically to the Google Wallet app, requiring you enter a pass code, that opens a menu with multiple options, along with credit card options if the device is tapped to a card reader. A “brief animation” shows the wallet locking up again once payment is done. What is interesting to note is the inclusion of possible partners that include McDonald’s, Macy’s, Target, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, etc. Whether these are actual partners or just use as an example in the slides is still unknown.
With the release of Touch, Sprint will also have to drop support for Google’s Wallet system, as the same NFC device will not be able to run both payment systems. But like Google Wallet 2.0, the Sprint payment system will also support both NFC as well as cloud-based applications.
The mobile payment system race is certainly heating up, as the competition keeps growing with Square and Paypal being a few of the other companies also joining in. Security concerns are also still a major issue with using such payment systems, and will take a while for a complete acceptance of such apps as a standard. But the current situation does give us a glimpse of a future where everyone will be using their smartphones to shop and make payments.
I can’t wait till I’m asked at the checkout line, “Will that be cash, card, or phone?” How about you? Let us know in the comments section below.