Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 Moves Forward With Mobile Payment Options
On June 20, 2012, Microsoft announced plans to unveil a software upgrade to its Windows Phone that will include a complete mobile payment system for smartphones and tablets. This could give Windows Phone 8 an edge over its closest competitor, Apple’s iPhone. There are rumors that the iPhone 5 will include NFC but this has not been officially confirmed.
The Windows Phone 8, which is targeted to be released in fall 2012 in time for holiday shopping, incorporates the ability for mobile payment transactions via near field communication (NFC). Applications will include a SIM-based wallet for multiple payment options including credit and debit cards, payment instructions, coupons and other deals such as preferred customer perks including affiliate and loyalty membership accounts for hotels and airlines. Transaction facilitator Paypal is officially supported in Windows Phone 8 directly through the wallet, giving consumers and additional option for sending and receiving money.
NFC gives the Windows Phone 8 an edge over the iPhone for mobile payments. NFC facilitates information to be transferred wirelessly over short distances such as tapping two phones together for data exchange or tapping a phone to a compatible point of sale terminal to make payments and purchases.
Both Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Google’s Android incorporate NFC. Apple’s hardware, however, relies singularly on barcodes to complete transactions.
Greg Sullivan, senior product manager for Windows Phone, explained Microsoft’s edge during the unveiling in June, “Google has the NFC payment part, Apple has the Passbook thing, we’ll have both.”
Joe Balfiore, VP of Microsoft’s phone program, explained that the wallet can be secured by the user via a PIN and can be used for physical purchases, m-commerce, in-app purchasing, and items can be charged to the user’s choice of payment methods.
He added during the announcement that Windows Phone 8 is based on the same core technologies that power Windows 8. “As a result,” Balfiore said, “Windows Phone 8 will unleash a new wave of features for consumers, developers, and businesses.”
For more information on the mobile phone payment options of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, go to www.microsoft.com/en-s/news/presskits/windowsphone
This video shows how the various functions within the wallet can be combined as a family goes out to lunch. They first purchase a Groupon deal from their phone, then tap to the cafe’s NFC-enabled Windows 8 tablet, placing their order from the cafe’s mobile menu. Finally they paying the bill by tapping their NFC phone to the cafe’s NFC tablet and redeeming their Groupon coupon.