Mobile micropayments through your smartphone is emerging, and, most likely, soon to become pretty hot category.
Nokia is looking how to introduce mobile payments to developing world with its Money service. Meanwhile, startups like Square and established companies like VeriFone are working on ways to bring personal mobile transactions to your iPhone, and, hopefully, any other smartphone you have in your pocket.
Well, those companies planning to make a living from their personal mobile payment iPhone app/accessory/service, better start thinking about other mobile platforms soon. Because Apple is actively eyeing personal mobile payments, as a market they want to have for themselves.
At least that’s what an Apple’s patent application called “Peer to peer financial transaction devices and methods” indicates.
It describes an iPhone app and service, that will allow iPhone owners to store all their credit card, bank/checking account and other info on the device, and to make quick personal and business transactions with a few taps.
The payments can be made by linking NFC enabled iPhones, or using the handset camera and some clever image recognition techniques.
There’s even an interesting usage case for paying group bills, e.g. for a dinner at a restaurant, described.
It includes one person from a group getting a bill on his iPhone, forming an ad-hoc network with the iPhones of other friends at the table, with each person selecting and paying his due via the first handset.
Well, it’s only a patent application for now. But, with the iTunes store Apple is already knee-deep in a small payment processing business. Extending that service to process personal payments of iPhone owners, seems like the next logical step for Apple.
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