Mark Bridge writes:
Last week I spotted a couple of mobile-related news stories that involved payment company MasterCard. One came from CPI Card Group, which had introduced a “next-generation, MasterCard-approved payment tag” (a.k.a. 'sticker') that enabled “any mobile device to be used to make payments anywhere using the worldwide contactless MasterCard PayPass standard” (by sticking it on the back).
But that's not really about the mobile payments market, is it? Sticking a flexible payment card to the back of a phone is no more “mobile payment” than sticking it on my shoe would demonstrate CPI's commitment to the shoe-payment market – or swallowing an MP3 player would turn me into a cyborg.
It's convergence by gaffa tape, that's all.
Mind you, if I could replace a fingernail with one of those cards… hmmm… watch out, Professor Kevin Warwick.
MasterCard's own MoneySend application doesn't seem much better. Oh sure, it's online, but it's not really adding anything to the m-payment story. If you live in the USA you can use your iPhone to send or receive payments between friends. It works with certain banks and credit unions... and sounds a bit like PayPal to me. Except that PayPal launched its mobile service in those days of pre-history before Apple launched its iPhone.
This week there’s still no sign of smartphones turning into payment cards – but payment cards are definitely getting smarter. NagraID Security has developed a debit card and credit card that looks like other payment cards but includes a small display and a button to generate one-time passwords for additional authentication. These cards comply with MasterCard’s standards, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t see them soon. Very soon.
The moral? There’s more than one direction that electronic ‘real-world’ payments could go. Or, as Saint Ben of Masabi puts it, “Just because you can do something with mobile doesn’t mean you should”.