NFC is much talked about in the media, and the main driving force behind this is Google with it’s Google Wallet solution. Google Wallet is an app that allows you to store offers, loyalty and credit card information. It currently supports MasterCard and Citibank. Alternatively you can use a Google pre-paid card, but the service is limited to those merchants who support MasterCard® PayPass™. Given lots of us know or use Google Wallet, how many of you are aware of NFC SIMs*?
NFC SIMs allow the mobile manufacturers and operators to offer a comprehensive mobile payment platform using the NFC technology but without the restrictions of the secure element payment and mobile gateway functions platform. The NFC SIM technology leap will definitely be a smartphone game changer in many ways.
Firstly, Google, *Apple and Microsoft (and to some extent Facebook) will want to find their way onto your smartphone and your everyday life. With the NFC SIM, you will not need to have an Android device. Secondly, everyone who works in mobile knows mobile payment systems / apps are going to be serious cash cows, and not only for the mobile operators (whom might I add will control the pricing from the offset – I here you sigh!).
Thirdly, smartphones are an extension of our lives, and in time, everyone will be conditioned into using their device to pay for goods and services, in effect leading to the disappearance of cash as we know it. Lastly, the GSMA has been pushing for years to have NFC-enabled SIMs as an industry standard in mobile. It’s wish looks like it has been granted, as more than 45 global mobile operators have recently signed up to deliver SIM-based NFC.
I do though believe banks will also have a part to play in NFC SIM development. They already have the trust of their customers. Do you feel the same way about Google with Google Wallet? Not forgetting the recent security issues surrounding Google Wallet. The banks will without doubt look to exploit the NFC SIM revolution and deliver their robust payment architecture to their already reassured customers.
Security companies have also now started to develop NFC-related ‘sandboxed’ technology (i.e. as part of mobile secure element) which they call ‘vaults’. This is where the sensitive data is stored i.e. financial data. Several companies (NXD, G&D and Gemalto) announced their ‘vault’ secure element technology at this weeks Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The NFC secure element in smartphones will no doubt be a disruptive sector for new innovation this year and into 2013.
Bootnote: *Apple utilises micro SIMs, so the introduction of NFC SIMs will be missing from the iPhone 4 range. Maybe the up and coming iPhone 5 will have this technology. Who knows.
Safe surfing folks!