updated 01:20 pm EDT, Thu May 6, 2010
Upgraded teminals to be required
Visa will soon allow iPhone owners to make wireless credit card payments at special terminals, a quickly-pulled press release suggests. The concept involves customized payment software called Visa payWave, which will come pre-installed on a memory card. Because the iPhone lacks an external memory slot of its own, the card will require an iPhone to have a new protective case, already said to be Apple-certified.
To make a payment, users will only have to wave an iPhone in front of supporting terminals, found in places like taxis, restaurants, stadiums and retail stores. "Thousands" of American companies are claimed to have made the upgrade so far. To defray security concerns, an unspecified form of password protection is being put in effect.
Trials of the technology are slated to start this summer, and at a minimum support the iPhone 3G and 3GS. The press release notes in fact that a "majority" of smartphones should be able to make use of the card, namely those that do have built-in memory slots. Apple has regularly expressed interest in its own near-field payment systems, such as one for event tickets; these could, however, require an upgraded iPhone with an RFID transmitter.