announced the commercial availability of In2Pay, a microSD solution for mobile payments. The service, enabled by Texas-based DeviceFidelity, has been in testing for the past 18 months with financial institutions across the U.S., Europe and Asia.Today, Visa and Visa Europe have
The new service works with several smartphone models, says Visa, including the Blackberry Bold 9650, the iPhone 4/3GS/3G and the Android-based Samsung Vibrant Galaxy 5.
The In2Pay solution works by way of a small microSD card that's inserted into a phone's memory slot to enable the device for mobile payments. Of course, the iPhone models listed don't offer such a slot, but, as we reported back May, Visa worked around this obstacle by developing special protective iPhone cases (in conjunction with DeviceFidelity) which include a slot for the memory card.
Although the number of supported devices is limited for now, Visa says it will expand to more handsets in the future, including those running Symbian and Windows operating systems. (We believe it means the "Windows Phone 7" OS, specifically).
In the U.S., ?In2Pay trials were conducted with JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo Bank, US Bancorp and Bank of America. ?Visa said the trials over the past year and a half involved "extensive technical, security and usability testing" and that the end result "will provide the level of user experience Visa accountholders have come to expect."
In order for end users to adopt the technology, the financial institutions will have to issue the microsSD card to their account holders, meaning the first customers to have access to this technology will likely be those banking with the aforementioned financial groups.
Mobile Payments Solutions Abound
In2Pay is one of many new mobile payment initiatives arriving in recent months. In November, three major U.S. carriers announced a mobile payments service of their own called Isis, which will use NFC (near field communications) technology, such as that which is found in the newly-launched version of the Android OS, "Gingerbread." Isis works with Discover's Financial Services network.
Also, Verizon Wireless partnered with mobile billing company BilltoMobile in March, for online digital purchases, and in October, AT&T began a trial of direct carrier billing with BilltoMobile, Zong and Boku, top mobile payment companies. Not to be left out, PayPal also quietly debuted its own take on mobile payments back in October. Its iPhone app was updated to include a "PayPal Local" feature that allows users to find local businesses that accept PayPal as a form of payment. PayPal users could also use tags from partner Bling Nation for these payments. Bling Nation is a startup whose NFC-enabled stickers instantly transform any phone into a mobile payments-ready device that can also perform check-ins via Facebook and Foursquare.