First Data and Visa have independently pushed ahead with developing NFC chips that can be inserted into the microSD slot of a mobile phone to make contactless payments, according to American Banker.
The devices can serve as a temporary bridge to phones with built-in NFC payment apps, while providing more security than NFC stickers and other such devices.
According to Forrester Research, NFC handset rollouts will only begin in late 2010, with 2 million units from Malaysian handset maker Fonelabs as well as a new line of Nokias.
In the meantime, it looks like microSD is the best option, as the chips and can hold more memory than stickers and have the ability to add apps, as well as host multiple payment accounts, says American Banker.
Visa is currently partnering with DeviceFidelity to pilot a new microSD system that combines its payWave technology with DF’s In2Pay, which uses an onboard software-controlled antenna and a dual interface contactless smart card chip that supports payWave.
The pilots, which are in the earliest stages of planning, will take place in market locations that already accept payWave.
First Data has also made the jump to microSD with its SideTap memory cards, developed alongside mobile contactless provider Tyfone.
Side Tap cards can contain financial information and secure identification from multiple sources such as retailers or banks in both open loop and closed loop scenarios, says American Banker.
First Data is currently searching for banks, merchants and mobile networks to get SideTap off the ground.
Both companies’ chips are expected to cost around $10 to $15.
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