updated 09:25 am EST, Wed November 23, 2011
RIM lands first NFC BlackBerry payment deal
RIM scored the first commercial use of NFC on newer BlackBerry phones Wednesday through a deal with Telefonica. The company's own Spanish headquarters as well as banks, gas stations, and stores will take payments through a combination of a Telefonica SIM and an NFC-equipped BlackBerry, including the Bold 9900, Curve 9360, and Curve 9380. As with most NFC, users just need to tap against a payment reader with the phone to shop.
A new version of the carrier's Wallet app helps manage the virtual cards as well as giving the choice to make purchases directly from the app.
The strategy starts off as a test run in Spain, but it should reach "several international markets" in 2012. It's not apparent whether Android phones or other platforms will sign on later.
RIM in making the deal has revealed that it gave in to carriers in order to close an NFC pact. Depending on a carrier SIM for NFC gives users the freedom to switch devices and thus won't require that they stay on the BlackBerry. Users may suffer, though, since it ties the payment system to the carrier and makes it harder to switch.