31Dec/110

Our { wallet } lives in clouds, not devices

Google NFC Coupon

"There are plenty of ways to access your wallet in the cloud," said PayPal.

PayPal is referring to the growing interest around NFC technologies coupled with mobile Smartphones. PayPal is testing NFC mobile payments at two Swedish stores as it seeks to expand its cloud offerings.

An Android app enables peer-to-peer payments with two mobile phone users tapping their phones together to transfer money between them. A test will run for five days at the two stores to see if the idea has merit.

NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few centimeters.

The direction taken by PayPal is interesting, since it's parent company EBay has not really fallen in love with the technology. However, PayPal is seeking to establish offline roots with consumers as a way of future-proofing itself against competition. NFC is one way to do this.

The move offline is not limited to PayPal. Even Google has been experimenting with small Chrome notebook stores in London. Meanwhile, in the United States, Microsoft has been launching a range of retail computer stores to challenge Apple's dominance in this arena.

All three tech giants above are experimenting with NFC technologies on Smartphones.

"A Google Nexus Smartphone could pop up a grocery shopping list because it's detected where you are," reports Fast Company.

"When you'd collected the goods, you'd pay at the checkout merely by tapping your phone to the sensor, and the transaction happens instantly, along with loyalty point awards."

Google is even experimenting with something called "Offers" which is its version of Groupon or LivingSocial. One variation calls for NFC-tagged posters, which allow consumers to tap your phone to collect a coupon.

Rumors are circulating that both Apple and Microsoft will launch NFC phones in the first part of 2012. Many were surprised that the new iPhone 4S did not include NFC technology.

Meanwhile, PayPal expects to do $3.5 billion in mobile payments this year using its existing technologies.

It sees NFC as long-range option and falls under a category called "proximity payments". A reader residing on each Smartphone will allow mobile-2-mobile payments using Bluetooth, RFID and of course, NFC.

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