Google's revolutionary phone G1 powered by its own Android operating system is really going places.
Within a week of its unveiling, world's largest payment processor Visa has declared that it will make a mobile payment application for the product, including alerts for credit card usage. The phone is expected to be out in stores in the latter half of next month. (See: Android operating system to power Google's first mobile handset, G1)
Android users will be able to receive near real-time alerts about purchases via their mobile devices, Visa said. They will also be able to use location-based mapping technology to find ATM machines and nearby stores where they can redeem special Visa offers.
The software will be broadly available to US consumers by the end of the year, starting with holders of Chase Visa cards.
Additionally, instead of putting all its eggs in the Google basket, Visa also signed a deal to give users of Nokia's upcoming 6212 Classic-model cell phone the ability to make "contactless" payments in stores just by flashing their phone at an electronic scanner.
Similar "contactless" capabilities for Android users are still under development, Visa said.
But it said these services - already common in countries such as Japan - may not take off for years in the US as stores would need to install new card readers and cell phones with the corresponding technology would need to be in wider use.
The Nokia 6212 classic includes integrated Near-Field Communications chipsets (NFC) which lets the mobile device behave like a contactless payment card, where consumers simply wave it within a few inches of a special point of sale reader to complete a Visa transaction. Nokia and Visa first demonstrated NFC technology in December 2005 with the launch of the first large scale NFC trial in the US at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta.
"NFC-capable devices such as the Nokia 6212 Classic are set to change the way mobile phone users interact with devices and services in their surroundings," says Jeremy Belostock, the Head of Near Field Communications, Nokia. "With our partnership with Visa, we're bringing the value of electronic payments and services directly into the mobile phone, making our customers' everyday lives more convenient."
"By developing these mobile services for the Android platform, Visa has taken a major step toward achieving our goal of combining two of the world's most powerful and ubiquitous consumer innovations, electronic payments and mobile technology," said Elizabeth Buse, Visa's global products head.
Tim Attinger, Visa's global head of product development, said that while mobile payment services have been slow to take off, the company sees mobile phones as key to adding new customers. Only 1.6 billion Visa cards are in use today, compared with more than 3 billion people with cell phones.
"We're absolutely going to start porting financial services into those," Attinger said.