3 Nov 2014

Kerching! The tech battle for your wallet

The next battleground for the tech giants? Your wallet.

Yes, they hope to consign the grubby leather billfold/purse to the dustbin of history. The US is leading the way and over there it’s a three-way fight: Apple, Google, and a coalition of retailers pushing their own solution.

The latter has already had a setback: CurrentC, which counts Walmart and Best Buy among its supporters, admitted email addresses of would-be users have been stolen; not a great start for a financial project.

Nevertheless, the rush to control new payment systems will go on. Here’s how the three systems shake down:

Google Wallet: uses Near-Field Communication (NFC), which is a tiny chip inside a phone. When waved near a payment terminal it takes payment from a registered credit card.

Apple Pay: also uses NFC, fitted inside the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, but uses a fingerprint to authorise the payment.

CurrentC: uses QR codes, those little square bar code-type images you may have seen dotted around.

The battle between them has already commenced, with some backers of CurrentC refusing to accept Apple and Google’s NFC systems.

There is a lot at stake here: whoever wins gets not only access to a treasure trove of information about your spending habits, but the ability to target ads at you.

And as Sophos sagely point out , CurrentC gives retailers the ability to take payments direct from users’ bank accounts, cutting credit card companies out of the picture – along with their fees.

The e-wallet fight will come to our shores soon, but it needs buy-in from shops (which explains the appeal for them of CurrentC).

As an indication of how long it’s all taking: Google Wallet was initially rumoured to be up and running for the London Olympics in 2012…

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2 reader comments

  1. Philip says:

    There will be fraudsters licking their lips at this. I can assure you I won’t go near any of this unless any operator is prepared to guarantee to reimburse me for any losses due to fraud.

  2. Alan says:

    Tech marketing invariably takes the form of ‘shiny beads’. In its self that should warn most. The corporations involved have proven time and time again how thoroughly untrustworthy they are. The hidden tie in with banks and government will receive little press so we can be sure of one thing, this isn’t being developed for our benefit.

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