Feeds

Forget bonking, now mobes can buy stuff using pay-by-SQUEAK

Chinese spurn NFC, go for acoustic-coupled modem look

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has launched a mobile wallet app with a more-than-passing resemblance to Apple's Passbook. It enables fandroids to pay each other over the air and squeaks every time it's used.

The new wallet comes from Alipay, the financial arm of Alibaba, which already processes 8.5 million transactions a day for its half-a-billion users. As well as storing credit card details - which can be used in shops via QR Codes, barcodes or the aforementioned squeaking - the Alipay Wallet can handle person-to-person transactions enabling every user to become a merchant.

Few electronic wallets support these peer-to-peer transactions as they are more complicated and harder to secure than the usual customer-to-merchant payments. But P2P is essential if electronic systems are going to replace cash in a significant way so the inclusion in Alipay's app is significant.

The user interface is inspired by Apple's Passbook, and it can store vouchers for money off products and other offers just like its Cupertino rival.

Apple and almost everybody else is waiting for radio-wave-based Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to emerge, enabling pay-by-bonk payments: a suitably equipped phone is waved over or tapped against a till or any other NFC terminal to send its the payee's details so transactions can be completely wirelessly.

However, Alipay is pushing ahead with pay-by-squeak.

Pay-by-squeak requires two devices with the Alipay Wallet installed, which means Android for the moment though an iPhone version is promised. Using the microphone and speaker, the two devices beep to each other until the transfer has been authenticated.

Alternatives include an on-screen barcode or QR Code, read by the cameras on phones running software provided by Alipay, which is the crux of the matter and explains the desire for an early presence in the market.

Stores, even in China, are conservative, and won't invest in payment-accepting hardware unless they're confident it has a long-term future. PayPal's barcode-based system launched last May, but despite boasting four fashionable frock shops at launch it hasn't signed up anyone else since then, demonstrating just how hard it is to get retailers on board. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
FCC: Gonna need y'all to cough up $1.5bn to put broadband in schools
Kids need more fiber, says Wheeler, and you'll pay for it
NBN Co screws lid on FTTP coffin
Copper and HFC dominate in new corporate plan
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.