RIM teams with US bank on NFC payments - Mobile World Live

RIM teams with US bank on NFC payments

01 MAR 2011

Bank of America (BoA), the leading US retail bank, has reportedly started inviting select customers to trial its new NFC-based ‘Mobile Wallet’ using BlackBerry smartphones. According to the Boy Genius Report (BGR) website, which appears to show official BoA documents on the matter, the bank is sending trialists a new battery cover with an NFC antenna and a microSD card, which will enable select BlackBerry devices to work with the scheme. The kit will work with the BlackBerry Curve 8520 and 8530; BlackBerry Bold 9000, 9650 and 9700; and BlackBerry Tour 9630. Payments can then be made at any merchant location where MasterCard’s PayPass contactless equipment is installed when the initiative goes live – ‘this spring’ according to BGR.

The development is further evidence of rising momentum behind the use of the NFC standard for contactless mobile payments in the US and elsewhere. However, the BoA/RIM partnership represents a different approach to the Isis venture – a partnership between AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless that places the operator rather than a financial institution such as BoA at the centre of the the mobile payments value chain. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie noted at the GSMA Mobile World Congress last month that “most, if not all” BlackBerry devices this year would support NFC payments. NFC is also supported in the latest Android platform (2.3), while Apple is rumoured to be working on a NFC-enabled iPhone.

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