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Mobile payments take their toll

Debit and credit payments by smartphone will bring convenience to consumers and profits to card processing companies.

There is a frantic race going on in the world of credit card operators. The prize for the winners is lots of business accomplished through transactions over mobile phones. All the excitement is about the technology known as NFC, or ‘near field communications’. The object of the race is to be the first company with a reliable credit card NFC chip and app on new mobile devices.

To non-techies, NFC looks like magic. Two mobile phones, or more likely a mobile and a credit card payment terminal lightly tap together and ‘abracadabra’; data is instantly moved from one to the other, SECURELY. In the latest TV ads it is video files that are shared, but the card operators are in a race to bring it to their account holders too.


It is all about ownership of those small regions of the information superhighway where credit card transactions travel. Because ownership means they can take a little toll every time a cardholder uses the technology to buy stuff. And all those millions of little tolls soon add up to big profits.

Or so the credit card companies hope. But the big question is; will it catch on with consumers? It is by no means sure that the developers have done the research on NFC. It is easy to see why the credit card companies want it but think about it with your consumer head on. When you come to pay for something and you put your hand in your pocket, do you care if it is your wallet and credit card or your mobile phone?  


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