Apple & Microsoft Compete on Digital Wallets

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Tired of receipts stacking up in your wallet, making it unnecessarily thick? Well, new competing application offerings from both Microsoft and Apple could soon revolutionize how people process transactions on an everyday basis.

Digital wallets allow users to store financial data via their smartphone devices, letting them more easily complete transactions.

For example, let’s say if a user has paid ahead for a ticket pertaining to a highly anticipated movie (like the Dark Knight Rises). With a digital wallet, that person could only have to scan their smartphone screen at the theatre as proof they’d already paid. Retrieving ticket information at an airport by simply scanning a screen could be another main highlight.

The concept has been around for quite some time (Google initially announced its Google Wallet application in May of last year). However, with new smartphone device releases set for the fall, it could eventually emerge as the default way to take care of payments while saving both ends the hassle of swiping credit cards, printing out receipts and even using cash (who enjoys lugging around change in their pockets anyhow?).

Just yesterday, Ping! Zine elaborated on a report by 9to5Mac signaling that a new NFC chip could be in the mix for Apple’s next generation iPhone device. NFC is a set of standards providing for more secure data processing via mobile platforms. It’s also an especially important concept for securely transacting payments. Specifically, Apple could be using NFC standards for better integration with Passbook, a new feature of iO6 recently announced during the company’s annual WWDC conference.

“Your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more are now all in one place. With Passbook, you can scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie, and redeem a coupon,” Apple states on its iOS 6 Preview website when explaining the new offering.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also has a vision for the digital wallet concept. While the company’s Windows Phone OS offering has flown under the radar in an industry increasingly dominated by Android and iOS, the company’s Windows Phone 8 OS launch this fall could make it a stronger player in the field. Windows Phone 8 will feature a new digital wallet offering, backed by NFC standards too, according to a report by TheVerge.com.

The rise of the digital wallet concept and NFC standards has presences in the payment industry taking note.

“NFC technology is transforming mobile phones into payment devices that will change the way people live, work and play,” commented Visa’s Niki Manby in a report from mis-asia.com. The same report noted a study by Juniper Research, estimating smartphone payments with NFC standards would account for over $180 billion by the year 2017. So are you ready to drop your wallet and use your smartphone for more transactions? Maybe your wallet will slim down in size just a bit.

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