Raise your hands, how many of you have been dreaming about one day being able to pay for everything with nothing but a tap of your mobile phone? It’s a fantasy we all want to see come to fruition, but there have quite a few number of hiccups. MasterCard, in an attempt to get the ball rolling on mobile payments, has just released an SDK that’s compatible with Android and BlackBerry smartphones. They basically want developers to integrate their wireless payment technology, PayPass, into their applications.
Before we get to this new SDK, let’s talk about why mobile payments have failed thus far. First, the industry decided to go with a technology that isn’t very widespread: NFC. You may argue that NFC is in a whole heap of phones on today’s market, and you’re right about that, but sending someone a new credit card in the mail is a lot easier than getting someone to upgrade the phone that they like using.
Second, the powers that be are bickering. Your bank, the guys who issue you a Visa or MasterCard, wants to be responsible for enabling mobile payment support. Your operator, the guys that give you a SIM card to put inside your phone, want to be in charge of your mobile payments experience. Google, PayPal, Amazon, the companies that you interface with on a daily basis using a web browser, they want you to spend money using their services so they can mine your data and serve you better ads. All this grumbling has lead to mobile payments paralysis.
So onto today’s news: Is MasterCard’s new SDK worth smiling about? The company is telling app developers to integrate payments into their apps, meaning you, the user, will have a different payment experience depending on which app you’re using.
People poke fun at credit cards, but you know what? They work everywhere, they’re pretty secure, especially if it has a chip, and in most cases it’s actually faster to take a piece of plastic out of your wallet than to fumble around with your smartphone to pay for something.