There was a brief scare earlier today when it was reported that Google Wallet, Google’s mobile NFC payment solution was vulnerable to a PIN harvesting attack. That only affected rooted devices, but now a second vulnerability has been discovered, and this one affects all Android devices with Google Wallet installed.
The Obama presidential campaign is again pushing the bounds of technology in politics by using Square mobile payments in its fundraising efforts. Square’s mobile payment device is a secure magnetic stripe credit card reader that can be attached to the headphone jack of iPhones, iPads, and Android devices to accept payments.
Up until this point, the whole NFC/Mobile payments craze have largely been focused on smartphones, since, well, you’re more likely to have a cellphone than a notebook on you when you’re shopping. But hey, what about e-shopping? Intel and MasterCard just announced that they’ve teamed up to make Ultrabook a little more “Ultra” by adding mobile payments to the support list for the ultraportable laptops. You’ll still need your cellphone, though.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Google is preparing to start a mobile payment trial in New York and San Francisco. The system, which Google will be rolling out with VeriFone Systems Inc., will let users pay for purchases with their smartphones. The special registers would make use of near-field-communication (NFC) technology, which is still rare in mobile phones in the US.
AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have announced a joint venture centered around turning your mobile phone into a method of payment, Engadget is reporting. Using so-called Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, the hope is that one day, you will only have to tap your phone on a point of sale kiosk to pay for items. The technology will be deployed with the help of a NFC tech firm called Isis.
The press release claims the system will be available in locations nation-wide in about 18 months. That may seem like quite a wait, but there are currently no widely distributed phones in the US that have the necessary NFC chips built in. There are security concerns to be sure, so we'll all have to keep an eye on this technology as it rolls out.
The use of mobile phones as payment devices has yet to catch on in the US like it has in some Asian nations. But Bank of America is looking to change that. BofA will be running a trial starting in September in New York to have people pay for items using their smartphones. The project involves the use of special wireless chips (probably a type of near field communication) to allow their handset to interact with receivers at point of sale registers.
Users will be able to wave their phones over the receivers to pay for items. Visa and Mastercard, in an effort to catch the next train leaving the station, are heavily invested in the project. Visa is also looking to develop its own version of the technology. The use of mobile payments could simplify the small-dollar, high volume transactions people make on a daily basis. Buying a bagel might never be the same again.
The only problem, is the same thing that makes the system desirable: ease of use. If you lose your phone, the finder might know it's as good as a credit card. There is also a concern that thieves could find a way to wireless capture your banking data. Safeguards would have to be built in to the system, and consumers will have to adhere to good security practices. Would you like to pay for things with your phone, or is it too risky?
Google is working to leverage its underused Google Checkout service as a way to offer mobile payments for a range of businesses. The process requires a business to get set up in advance, and the customer must be using an Android phone. A merchant just needs to open a Google Checkout account al list their merchandise in the store. The new Android Payment Chrome Extension. When a customer wants to make a purchase, the merchant generates a chipping cart that offers a QR code. The customer scans the QR code with the phone, and a page opens that allows them to pay directly with Google Checkout.
There are obviously limitations to the system as it currently stands. It requires the use of Google products like Chrome and Android, but that could change in the future. We'd like to see this payment method expanded since it looks to be innately more secure than mobile payment methods like Square. The use has all the control over allowing payment. If the process can be streamlined, and expanded to more platforms, it could solve a lot of problems.