Visa and DeviceFidelity have announced plans to launch an NFC-capable microSD memory card for use in mobile phones, effectively turning them into contactless payment devices. Although Visa's involvement makes this new device a much stronger proposition than previous offerings, perennial issues such as competing technologies, revenue models and consumer acceptance must still be tackled.
DeviceFidelity's launch of an NFC-enabling cover for the iPhone follows hot on the heels of other developments to convert mobile handsets into contactless form factors. Given the sensitivity surrounding the NFC business model, this will provide added impetus for acquirers to build contactless acceptance but risks alienating mobile operators from future discussions around mobile payments.
ViVOtech and DeviceFidelity have partnered to bring a full range of applications for mobile commerce to smartphones. For the payments industry, this could be a big step forward in building momentum behind all kinds of contactless applications. However, only the success of the recently announced trials and customer experience will determine the feasibility of further developments in this area.
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