Interest really does seem to be picking up on NFC and the opportunities out there for electronic payment. Now Japan's most innovative operator is having a dabble with Android. By Ian Scales.
The NFC for electronic payment wave seems to be picking up momentum.
In the past, 'initiatives' in the electronic payment field have tended to start with a splash and end with a slight ripple, mostly because it's hard to mobilise all the stake-holders to agree on standards and business models (please complete out our mobile payments survey and enter a draw to win an iPad
But following the recent announcement of Google support for NFC on mobile phones (via its Android operating system) innovative Japanese operator, SoftBank Mobile, says it will trial NFC m-payment services from the beginning of next year.
It's reported as saying that this should “pave the way for increasingly convenient and satisfactory global-standard NFC services and solutions in Japan.”
Softbank has got together with Mastercard (the system will use its PayPass contactless payment system) and will involve credit card issuers Credit Saison and Orient Corporation. The initial trial is just a taster though involving employees at the companies involved.
There's been some distinct rustling in the mobile payments undergrowth in the last couple of weeks. Google itself is behind the launch of the Nexus S (actually manufactured by Samsung) which supports NFC (see this week's Europe Report ) . Nokia is also reported to be shipping the C7 smartphone with NFC inside and ready to be hooked by applications. And the rumour mill reports that the likes of Apple and RIM (Blackberry) are also jumping on the bandwagon.
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