Monday, May 05, 2008

So what about NFC?

I have been critical of many things on my blog. I have highlighted the problems with premium SMS's, Internet payments, Chip and Pin and many other approaches to solving payment problems. In the same way I have discussed problems that I see with NFC solutions (As far as I can re-collect twice: here and here)

I don't think that we can ignore the growing interest in NFC payments and when today I was asked twice why I don't support NFC payments, I realised that I should post a firm position on this blog.

Card-based proximity payments is nothing new. We have stirling examples of these having been deployed successfully. I am the proud owner of a Oyster Card myself (even though I don't live in London). I really enjoy seeing how seamless everything work, each time I have to use the underground.

So here is my position: To merely replicate these kind of payments by replacing the card with a mobile phone does not add much value, and I believe that most business cases will be rickety. If we were to utilise the new NFC capabilities in phones, I think it is critical to be much more innovative about these features. Some of the things that we should possibly develop (not an exhaustive list) is:
  • On phone wallet applications
  • Phone to phone NFC interaction (I personally think that this is one potential killer app)
  • OTA issuing (another killer, but extremely complex and challenging)
  • Mobile data interactions between the application on the phone and back-office
At the end of the month, I will be speaking at a high-level NFC conference. I was invited...

1 comment:

Ismaila Wane said...

Good to see that you "do believe" in NFC after all! You mentioned phone to phone interaction as a potential killer application. I believe in that as well. The kind of application I'm thinking of is when one phone is the POS and the other is emulating a payment card. This could be the sort of leapfrog that could make sense even in Africa where POS systems and payment cards are not vastly deployed. What do you think?

Too bad, Africa is not yet into coupons because that's one of the killer application my company is focusing on.