Using Near Field Communication technology, pay-by-phone schemes are proliferating.
Google is at the forefront of the contactless payment movement with its Google Wallet. Google Wallet is already available on the Nexus S smartphone on the Sprint network.
Heavyweights AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have teamed up to support the Isis Payment Platform, which has already received support from the major handset makers and the major credit card companies.
Virtually all of the Near Field Communication chips out there today are made by NXP Semiconductors. The company says there are more than 130 different phone and tablet models in various stages of deployment, totaling more than 40 million devices.
Shoppers can use this method of payment via Google Wallet, or you can link the payments to Google’s own prepaid card, or to PayPass-eligible MasterCard credit cards from Citibank.
Another application of contactless payments is mass transit, where allowing people to board a bus or train via tapping their phone can be faster and more convenient than a fare card, which needs to be repeatedly re-filled with more money. And while saving a couple of extra seconds at the supermarket checkout might not be that critical, to a commuter racing to catch a train, every second counts.
At a farmer's market in Dongguan, China, shoppers make payments by tapping their phones, using SIMpass card technology.
In Hong Kong, an estimated 95% of adult residents use the Octopus Card for all public transportation, as well as fast food restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, parking meters, and service stations, according to Octopus Holdings, which produces the card.