At this week's developer conference, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse announced a new service for Sprint customers: a mobile payment solution called Sprint Mobile Wallet. The system will come pre-loaded on new Sprint handsets and will be made available for download from "Sprint Zone," a pre-installed app featuring news, tips, tricks and a curated collection of Sprint's favorite apps.
What's unique about the Mobile Wallet solution is that it will allow customers to pay for both digital and physical goods using their phones. And for developers, noted Hesse, the app provides a new way to monetize mobile applications.
Details on Sprint Mobile Wallet
FierceMobileContent, Sprint's Director of Open Enablement Kevin McGinnis said that "...the PayPals, Google Checkouts and Amazons of the world will have their financial instruments and prepaid account capabilities in there..." In researching this further, it appears that PayPal and Google Wallet are supported, as are eBillMe, Bill Me Later, MyECheck, NACHA Secure Vault Payments (SVP), Ukash, eLayaway, Ebates and RevolutionCard.To use Sprint Mobile Wallet, customers will create a universal PIN which will be associated with their existing Visa, MasterCard or Amazon Payments accounts. There was mention of "other payment methods" as well in Sprint's press release, but no names were given beyond these three. However, in an earlier interview with
When making a purchase, the customer's encrypted PIN is sent to Sprint partner CardinalCommerce, which will host the secure transactions between the customer and the merchant. Thousands of merchants already support CardinalCommerce, said Hesse, including SkyMall, Gameloft and Namco, the big-name merchants who have announced they are on board with Sprint Mobile Wallet at launch.
Sprint customers on its Everything Data Plan can use the mobile wallet at no additional charge.
How to Get Started
For developers and mobile application publishers, the Sprint Mobile Wallet (SWM) is also meant to provide a means of monetizing apps outside of the "controlled walls of an app store," says Sprint.
The company has now published a number of tools on its Developers Center for SMW, including the following:
- Merchant Integration Guide for Sprint Mobile Payment Services (SMW)
- Sample SMW Transaction Sequence Chart
- Sample Client Wallet App
- Sample Merchant App
It has also posted some screenshots of the application itself here.
When integrated into a mobile application, the Mobile Wallet promises to offer a "friendlier user experience" than redirecting users to a WAP site or Web purchase page. Instead, the experience is that of a "one-click" payment option on the mobile phone.
The sample application provided by Cardinal gives you an idea of how this will look to the end user.
Not only can standalone mobile apps be monetized in this way, Sprint's ID Packs can be as well. ID Packs, which are downloadable collections of themed or branded content for Android phones, allow users to easily customize their device with apps, ringtones, wallpaper and other content, without having to download applications individually from the Android Market. In addition to current partners like E!, Disney, ESPN, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, EA and MTV, Sprint also announced new partners AOL, UPS, Canvas, IHG and BodyMedia at this week's event.
The company is now enabling publishers to create paid version of these ID packs, as a way to charge for premium content.