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Central, Hong Kong, 2011/04/06 - Out with credit cards, in with NFC enabled mobile phones that allow for mobile payments. Who will profit from this paradigm shift? - ProvideoFinancial.com.
At the beginning of March the Wall Street Journal reported that Google [NASDAQ: GOOG] would be teaming up with Citigroup [NYSE: C] and Mastercard [NYSE: MA] to turn Android phones into a kind of "electronic wallet."
The buzz is about supplanting the trusted credit card with a chip located in your mobile phone. The phone could then be securely linked to you various banking and credit cards enabling you to pay for goods and services with the touch of your phone. Google isn’t alone here either though; Microsoft and Apple are both rumoured to be including the NFC (near field communication) chips into their next generation devices, and it is highly likely that there will be fierce competition and options for how the mobile payment market unfolds. Apple will of course want to integrate it with their existing payment gateway set up through iTunes, Ebay’s PayPal will also want a piece, as will mobile phone companies. Basically anybody with an existing billing platform could effectively use this technology to take a small piece out of each of your transactions all the while making your everyday life a bit easier.
"A phone is a lot smarter than a card. It opens the door to a rich experience at the point of sale that retailers really covet." Doug Bergeron - VeriFone CEO
Naturally investors and traders would want to know more about this, and what it could imply for publically traded companies.
Google is hoping to make mobile payments easier, and wants to give retailers more data about their customers. Google won’t likely take a cut of the transaction as that hasn’t been their traditional business model, but it will likely gather information and provide very detailed marketing information to that will allow even more targeted ads to consumers.
According to recent reports the collaboration underway will allow Citigroup debit and credit card holders to pay for items by activating an app on an android phone and then just touching that phone to a NFC reader at the checkout counter of the retail location where they are making a purchase.
Realistically, this development is only a signal flag of an emerging new technology. It is highly likely that this will take off in some form over the coming 2 years and that it will initially be disjointed and out of synch which will lead to slow adoption by retailers. Either way, the days of stacks of credit cards, membership cards, and wallets full of junk may soon be behind us.
"Because it's contact-less there's a perception people can grab it from thin air, but it's actually a more sophisticated technology than credit cards with a magnetic stripe, making it more difficult to steal a consumer's payment information." Nick Holland - mobile-transactions analyst, Yankee Group.
Two names that are likely to benefit from this move are VeriFone Systems Inc., (NYSE: PAY) and NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ: NXPI). VeriFone makes the credit-card readers for cash registers, while NXP is the leader in near-field communications chips. Google and NXP already have a working relationship for NFC chips, so it stands to reason that NXP would likely be part of this venture as well.
Both stocks have appreciated significantly in the past year, however with the launch of massive new payment gateways it is highly likely that the trend will continue. This market is still young and it is yet to be determined who will come out on top, but which ever system wins, hardware will be a necessary component.
For more information visit provideofinancial.com/.