It used to be that new features were first seen in the luxurygoods category. With our noses pressed up to the windows, meremortals could only dream of having air conditioning built rightinto their car! Even just ten years ago, navigation systems wereavailable in Porsche models, but certainly not Chevys. My, howthings have changed. As Research in Motion unveils their newBlackberry Torch 2, a well-known “gadget site”, BGR got a hold ofthe list of features on the phone.
Along with built-in Bluetooth, GPS, and 8GB of memory, down thefeatures list one will also find “NFC.” Just that quietly, the newsmartphones entering the market will simply have NFC built-in aspart of its standard equipment. Not that there’s a whole lot ofplaces one can use NFC (for payments). Consider the fact that about70% of all merchant outlets still don’t have a PIN pad at theircheckout counter, and it’s not hard to see that universalacceptance of NFC is still quite a bit off – in the U.S. thatis.
Go outside our country and EMV is becoming standard card equipment,mobile payment schemes are gaining traction in large regionalareas, and electronic financial services are the norm in somecountries. Now that debit cards are poised to become commoditized,thanks to the flattening of interchange fees, and signature and PINschemes continuing to operate appear increasingly doubtful, itmight be time for the U.S. to get serious about leveraging whatconsumers already carry around in their pockets.