With their acquisition of Fig Card, PayPal has signaled their intention to enter into the POS e-wallet market. Fig Card, unlike many of the other e-wallets under development, uses WiFi instead of NFC to complete transactions. This is an advantage because, unlike NFC, most of the latest phones already have the ability to access WiFi. Furthermore, although many experts are predicting NFC to become the industry standard, NFC is facing significant technical challenges, such as requiring a separate antenna and a secure element chip.
Mobile payments are poised to explode. This year, the PayPal expects to process $2 billion in paperless payments — nearly triple the amount of mobile payments the company processed in 2010, company spokesperson Sara Gorman told Wired.com.
PayPal has actually been experimenting with mobile payments since 2006, Gorman said, but as the dream of paperless point-of-sale transactions comes closer, the company is intensifying its focus on the space, both internally, and though acquisitions, such as Fig Card.
This potential of the mobile payment market is attracting a large number of entrants, including Google, Apple, Isis, and others.