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The Mobile Payment Gold “Rush”

If you’ve been watching the news, no doubt the trickle of mobile payment details has been percolating in your mind. NFC (Near Field Communications) is NOT in the iPhone 5 and Starbucks appears to be doing just fine without it. The idea of paying for stuff with your phone is not a new concept, but the race to marry a technology with controlling interest in a lucrative payment system appears at it’s height.

So many options appear to be just ready to hit mass adoption, they include the Canadian government’s MintChip, Pay with Square, and Mobile Credit card payment systems such as Paypass. There is even a standard in the works called NSDT (Near Sound Data Technology) that will process payments by way of sound. Rogers appears to be trying to lock-in users to a SIM-based payment wallet. Since not all of these standards is both supported by the merchant AND the buyer, mass adoption won’t happen quickly.

This makes we wonder why companies aren’t investing in a universal (and simple) bar coding standard that all phones can read and show. Considering the volume of bar code readers out there – the industry is very mature. Companies like Starbucks and even Air Miles appear to be on the right track with a mobile payments that may not need a shiny new technology standard to be the best. Every phone can show a bar code.