DeviceFidelity, MasterCard Launch Mobile Payment Solution for iPhones
Crosman, Penny, American Banker
Byline: Penny Crosman
The battle over what kind of hardware will be used to handle contactless mobile payments is by no means over. Although telecom carriers have thrown their weight behind SIM cards (the tiny, portable circuit boards in some phones that store the user's phone number, voice, and data plan information), the competing microSD chip (a small memory card that often contains a near-field-communication radio) is not dead yet. Today, DeviceFidelity announced that it has partnered with Spring Card Systems to create a mobile payment app that works with DeviceFidelity's microSD card and communicates with MasterCard PayPass point-of-sale terminals. The new application is called moneto.
The microSD card has been in mobile payment trials for years, most notably in a test that took place in 2010 in the New York City subways.
An advantage to microSD is that the card contains both a near-field-communication chip and a secure element, so it can retrofit into older phones that don't have any NFC capability built in. Near-field-communication is a short-range wireless communication standard widely regarded as the best way to transmit contactless mobile payment information from phone to merchant terminal. The microSD form factor also makes it possible for a bank to send the necessary hardware to their customers for contactless mobile payments without involving a handset manufacturer or mobile operator; banks could send out new microSD chips to customers the way they send out new credit and debit cards today. microSD solutions have sometimes been criticized in the past for lacking a strong NFC antenna. The moneto mobile payments technology announced today uses an NFC-enabled microSD chip embedded in an iPhone case (iPhones don't have a memory slot, so a special case is required for the devices to accept microSD). iPhone users need to sign up at moneto.me to receive the case, install the moneto app from the app store, and activate their account. …