Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Verizon and Payfone Teaming Up To Take a Shot in Mobile Payments

Payfone LogoWith Google and Ericsson battling it out to be the top mobile payments provider, Verizon has decided to join the fight too. Verizon is teaming up with Payfone, a New York based mobile payment company, to provide their own payment-on-the-go ecommerce solution for their customers.

While it’s not secret that Google Wallet is working exclusively with Sprint to get their mobile payments ecommerce solution off the ground, Verizon and Payfone are being very secretive about their relationship and what they plan to do. They have dropped a few hints, though:

“Payfone will allow Verizon Wireless customers to make online purchases from their smartphones, tablets and PCs using numerous payment methods, including charging purchases to their monthly wireless statements or using traditional payment methods through financial institution partners.”

Google Wallet is focusing on NFC (near-field communications) chips in order to physically replace your wallet with your phone, and Ericsson going the route of using text messages to transfer money. The Payfone-Verizon team seems to be working on something completely different. Which system will prevail?

It’s hard to say. Payfone is not working exclusively with Verizon. Last year it was announced that they have also teamed up with AT&T and T-Mobile to introduce a system called Isis. The Isis interface utilizes the NFC chip, similar to Google Wallet, to pay for items in your shopping cart. So while it’s not a direct competitor with Verizon, it does take a swipe at Google.

Payfone has said that it is concentrating on safety. Privacy and extremely secure encryption are going to be their main priorities. While all ecommerce solutions claim that their systems are secure and that they place emphasis on safeguarding private information, none have as public as Payfone in describing what they will do to keep their users safe. Hackers and thieves are definitely aware of the mobile payment movement, and are most likely already working on ways to infiltrate them.

As consumers we are going to have many ways to pay for the items in our shopping carts. Real world stores are going to have to determine which payment system they want to use, but it seems like NFC chips could give other payment systems a run for their money. A text messaging system sounds good for friends paying each other after you lose a bet, but for a business it may take too long to be viable. The Verizon-Payfone system is described like it will be primarily used for online shopping cart payments, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

via Zippycart

Jason Kiwaluk

Mower & Shoveller,

Ecommerce | Adtech | Innovation | Strategy

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