A lot of Asian consumers, and to a lesser extent European consumers, have been paying for things with their mobile phones, and for a variety of reasons – not the least of which being demand – the most spend-happy of the world’s consumers (Americans) have yet to do so themselves.
A group of mobile operators and device manufacturers want to change that. Two US carriers, AT&T/Cingular and BellSouth, have joined a consortium including Samsung, LG, and Nokia, among others, which are pushing for a global mobile wallet program called Pay-Buy Mobile. The handset makers mentioned above have “agreed to embed near-field communications chips into mobile phones, turning them into mobile wallets.”
They will connect with payment systems as a Bluetooth radio would, albeit far greater security, and will boast always-on awareness without sacrificing battery life to a significant degree. Agreements have already been made for chips to be made by NXP and software to be provided by Sony.
The global mobile wallet program is one that was first proposed by members of the GSM Association, and is one that all involved with the initiative hope to reach the world over in order to create worldwide compatibility. Only then could a mobile phone payment system be considered a realistic alternative to paper and plastic on a large scale.