Itsy-bitsy Wi-Fi brings pay-by-bonk to all
We don't need no stinkin' NFC
Desperate to pay-by-bonk but bored of waiting for the hardware? Then Podifi can help by providing a tiny Wi-Fi access point which turns any smartphone into a bonking wallet.
Podifi comes from 2ergo, which has spent the last couple of years trying to flog the tech as being ideal for vouchers and loyalty schemes. The payment system was announced last year but is now commercially available for those desperate to get pay-by-bonk working while we all wait for Near Field Communications to get its act together.
The technology is elegant, though the company is surprisingly tight-lipped about how it works - providing no details on its site or documentation. In fact the device - which looks like a white hockey puck and which the merchant plugs into the till, is a very-low-power Wi-Fi access point. Once the Podifi app is installed the customer waves a phone near the puck to process payments, use vouchers, and so forth.
It's not quite as good NFC, connections are slower and it lacks the secure element central to the NFC ecosystem, but it's still a nice solution for those people who are so desperate for pay-by-bonk they're not prepared to wait for NFC hardware.
Assuming such people exist.
The public will eventually adopt NFC payments, just because they'll be relentlessly pushed in that direction until they get used to the idea, but few people are actively seeking some bonking action, and those who are can buy NFC equipment off the shelf so the time for stop-gap technology is past.
Podifi will work with an iPhone, which counts in its favour, but everyone other than Apple is busy embracing an NFC ecosystem with enough technical prowess, and (more importantly) marketing money behind it to eradicate Podifi - along with Alipay's squeaking system, and PayPal's BumpPay, and the various barcode based systems which proliferate every now and then. ®
"The public will eventually adopt NFC payments, just because they'll be relentlessly pushed in that direction"
Apart from nothing seems to be embracing NFC at the moment. I don't know of an App from any nationwide Hotel door lock vendor that allows you to open your hotel room door by using your phone.
It isn't hard for the manufacturer to make an app or provide an API to build it into a hotel's app. However ask a company like Vingcard about it and the clam up and claim (from an actual sales guy) "it's available in America but the phones are different there, the phones in the UK don't support it". I did point out that the phones in the UK were identical or apart from the cell frequency but I didn't get any further.
So - how can I use my NFC payment through my UK phone? Paypal is trying to get into regular payment sin a very big way using face recognition payments, queue buster payments etc. But if I just want to use my phone on a contactless payment terminal to pay using my regular credit card, I can't. In the US they have Google wallet, in this country we have specific phones by specific network operators. Who's going to purchase a phone from a single network operator just to pay by NFC?
I can't see any reason why the NFC chip in a modern phone can't hold your pay-by-wave card details, your transport tickets, your loyalty cards and keys to your hotel room/workplace areas. All the tech is there today, it's all available right now and is as safe or safer than the alternatives currently in use.
However, I guess it is due to the fact that the iPhone doesn't have NFC - when it does the media hype machine will go into overdrive about this new technology that Apple has invented. That would be fine, if it extended the technology, but the chances are the solutions will all be based on an Apple proprietary standard, patented with obvious tech and not interoperable with other devices.
That is why the standard needs to be set now - so that It will be adopted by newcomers.
I don't believe you two have met. Tony, this is the question mark.
Is that a bonking wallet in your pocket?
... or are you just pleased to buy stuff from me?