Mobile payments by NFC venture comes into focus


More than three months after their plan first leaked out, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA are preparing to go public with their new venture for mobile payments. The group is expected to announce details of the venture and the hiring of a CEO, Reuters reports.
The venture is a clear competitive move against the heavyweights in the credit card space that are already trialing and launching their own mobile payment solutions. Discover Financial Services and Barclays Plc are joining the carriers for the effort.
But don’t expect the dominant transaction processors Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. to shy away from the expansive opportunity there is to effectively turn cellphones into payment machines.
Smart phone payment systems that make use of near field communications (NFC) are roundly expected to make a major play for a space dominated by credit and debit cards, but it will also require the development of an entirely new system that merchants will have to deploy. There’s also no details yet about what type of fee structure an NFC based payments system might carry for consumers or merchants.
Sprint Nextel Corp., which is markedly absent from this group, recently announced plans for its own mobile payments platform. The varying approaches to mobile payments by NFC only highlights the potential for an early fragmentation of a nascent technology that will require massive scale to reach any significant value.

About Author

Matt Kapko

Former Feature writer for RCR Wireless News
Currently writing for CIO
Matt Kapko specializes in the convergence of social media, mobility, digital marketing and technology. As a senior writer at, Matt covers social media and enterprise collaboration. Matt is a former editor and reporter for ClickZ, RCR Wireless News, paidContent and mocoNews, iMedia Connection, Bay City News Service, the Half Moon Bay Review, and several other Web and print publications. Matt lives in a nearly century-old craftsman in Long Beach, Calif. He enjoys traveling and hitting the road with his wife, going to shows, rooting for the 49ers, gardening and reading.