It has been an interesting week in the consumer electronic payments area. Frank McPherson reported about American Express’ entrance to the hardware independent digital payments arena. AmEx provides iOS (Apple) and Android apps to make a digital account based from their Serve.com site.
Late last year (Nov. 2010), AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless announced their NFC (Near Field Communications) based mobile payment network in partnership with Discover Financial Services and Barclaycard US.
NFC allows point-to-point wireless payment with short (a meter or two) distances. Google itself, which introduced the Nexus S Android phone with integrated NFC hardware earlier this year, is partnering with MasterCard and Citigroup. Verifone is also involved in making the contactless (wireless) NFC readers for this mobile payment system.
Google Sets Role in Mobile Payment (Wall Street Journal)
And, let’s not forget e-payment pioneer PayPal which has been very quiet during the past few months.
So, in 2011 we appear to have a variety of consumer payment systems with a number of different approaches and partnerships. There is an interesting split in the NFC area with Google and its partners on one side and the major cell phone companies (except for Sprint) on the other. Will these two groups come together soon to get NFC rolling?