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Bypassing the NFC hardware with more NFC hardware in France

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There’s a lot of testing, piloting and trialling going on with smartphones and contactless payment as a way of creating a mobile money system. The recent news has been from the mobile phone networks, with their own systems and specialist phones, but now Visa have promoted a piece of technology from “proof of concept” to “field trial”.

DeviceFidelity’s microSD card can be added to any smartphone, and as well as the extra memory storage, it also has NFC technology so any phone can become a contactless payment handset. We can only assume the internal tests started in May last year have proven successful, as Visa takes the iPhone enabling solution to the streets of France (along with the Android powered Samsung Galaxy S and the Blackberry Bold).

Nice and Strasbourg will take part in the trial, with the established Visa payWave system creating the technology backbone.

Here’s the interesting bit. The trial is not being run by the mobile phone networks – it’s purely a play from Visa and the BPCE banking group. While the hardware is still in early iterations (secondary NFC antennas are needed on the handset). The suspicion is that this is more a publicity move from Visa to keep them in the forefront of the mind of the mobile money pundits, and to carry on associating Visa with new technology in the minds of the public.