[LINK] Contactless Payments Coming to a Phone Near You....

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Tue Aug 10 09:05:05 AEST 2010

Operators targeting Texas, Utah for contactless payment trials

By Jason Ankeny

AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) reportedly will begin
trialing their proposed contactless payment system in mid-2011,
launching tests in markets including Austin, Texas, Minneapolis and Salt
Lake City. Citing sources speaking anonymously due to confidentiality
agreements, Bloomberg adds the m-payment solution--codenamed
Mercury--may also target Atlanta during its initial consumer trial

Reports of the m-payment effort first surfaced earlier this month.
According to Bloomberg, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are equal partners in
the venture, with T-Mobile USA controlling a smaller stake. Consumers
participating in the pilot would be able to pay for retail goods and
services by waving a radio microchip-equipped smartphone at a
point-of-sale reader unit--Discover Financial Services' payment network
will process all in-store transactions, and global financial firm
Barclays will help manage users' credit accounts. Representatives from
all three carriers, Discover and Barclays have declined to comment.

The Mercury effort could pose a serious threat to traditional credit and
debit service providers like Visa and MasterCard. "This is definitely a
game-changer," industry consultant Richard Crone of financial advisory
firm Crone Consulting LLC tells Bloomberg, explaining wireless carriers
"are the biggest recurring billers in every market. They are experts at
processing payments." As of the end of the second quarter of 2010,
Verizon Wireless serves 92.1 million subscribers, followed by AT&T at
90.1 million and T-Mobile USA at 33.6 million. Visa and MasterCard
together processed 82 percent of U.S. consumer spending on
general-purpose cards in 2009, translating to $2.45 trillion.
Interchange fees on credit and debit cards exceed $40 billion a year and
average between 1 percent and 2 percent of each transaction.

The worldwide mobile payments market--including purchases of digital and
physical goods, money transfers and NFC transactions--will grow from
$170 billion in 2010 to almost $630 billion in 2014 according to a
recent forecast issued by Juniper Research. Citing growing smartphone
adoption and increased app store traffic as catalysts behind the
increase, Juniper also expects SMS-based ticketing schemes and mobile
shopping efforts to boost the m-payments market in developed nations,
while in developing regions, SMS-driven money transfers will increase at
a rate of 30 percent year-over-year. Juniper adds that the top three
regions for mobile payments--the Far East & China, Western Europe and
North America--will represent nearly 70 percent of the global mobile
payment gross transaction value by 2014.


For more on the Mercury m-payment trials:
- read this Bloomberg article

AT&T, Verizon May Pick Texas, Utah for `Mercury' Payments Pilot


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