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BOA to Trial Pay-by-Tap on Blackberry

4 March 2011 by

BOA to Trial Pay-by-Tap on Blackberry

Pay-by-Tap is the latest innovation in mobile payment technology and the Bank of America is vowing to make it more accessible to American consumers — just as long as they also own a Blackberry device.

The bank has launched an invitation only trial of their new “Mobile Wallet.” The trial has been offered to customers who have a compatible model of a Blackberry device and a personal Bank of America credit or debit card.

Pay-by-Tap is a new touch based concept that promises to revolutionize shopping and mobile payment options. The technology will allow users to pay for goods and services by credit or debit card simply by tapping your mobile phone at the checkout.

The virtual wallet on the mobile device is secured with a four digit pin (personal identifier number) so that only the cardholder can make payments. It may even be more secure than traditional credit card transactions as your credit card never leaves your hands.

Everyone has heard the horror stories of shop assistants cloning or double swiping cards once they are out of the cardholders hands, but with pay-by-tap you never have to hand over your card; you simply tap on the relevant application on your mobile device to make a payment.

The trial of the technology from Near Field Communications (NFC) will be retroactively fitting the required radio antenna element required in the form of a replacement battery, but if the trial is successful then future generations of Blackberry devices will feature built in NFC radios.

The other requirement is a removable secure microSD card which is supplied and controlled by the bank. This bypasses network operators and handset manufacturers and keeps the power firmly in the hands of the bank. The Bank of America can decide which payment applications can be installed on the virtual wallet, in this instance the banks own debit and credit cards.

However, industry experts insist that consumers will not accept a secure element that is under the control of a single bank, or a single network operator as too many restrictions may be placed upon it. It remains to be seen how NFC will implement a worldwide system.

However, for now the Bank of America’s trials are well worth keeping an eye on to see just how successful Pay-by-Tap might be in the future. Citigroup have already completed similar trials of their own product which they are calling tap-and-pay.

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