updated 02:10 pm EDT, Fri August 6, 2010
Verizon, AT&T pick where to test phone payments
The planned smartphone payment system being developed by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in the US will soon begin field tests, according to unofficial reports. BusinessWeek says AT&T and Verizon, along with minority partner T-Mobile, are said to be testing the system in Austin, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City. The project is code-named Mercury, with a pilot due to start in the middle of 2011.
The sources remain unnamed as they are tied under a confidentiality agreement. Other sources say Atlanta may also be part of the pilot. The trial would be the largest of its kind in the US, and would let consumers pay for products or services with a wave of their smartphone that has a special near-field wireless microchip installed that talks to a receiver at checkout.
This technology could also allow retailers to send electronic receipts and rewards. and enable retailers to send consumers electronic receipts and rewards in real-time.
Discover may work with the providers to process the transactions while Barclays bank would help manage the accounts.
Visa is developing its own payment system that involves Apple's iPhone that can store card account information in an e-wallet. Likewise, American Express is performing nearly 50 tests of mobile payments globally. Also in the game is Mastercard, with about 20 pilot and commercial applications all over the world.