By David Dorf on Jul 07, 2011
Back in December in my predictions for 2011, I said this year will be the year when NFC pilots are launched in order to determine the winners for the coming years. There are at least 163 NFC projects in flight across the world at present, with a few big ones planned for the US. As Randy Vanderhoof explains, there are really three major project in the US for NFC. First, there's Google Wallet which will be piloted in New York and San Francisco and led by Google and Sprint. Then there's Isis, which will be piloted in Austin and Salt Lake City and led by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Lastly is the approach using a microSD cards which is preferred by financial institutions such of Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
You can read more about the Google Wallet and see a video here.
You can read more about Isis in Austin and see another video here.
I'm sure these pilots will last well into 2012 before we can draw conclusions, but I'm really encouraged the industry is moving forward. There are two benefits for retailers. First, there are possibilities to innovate alongside the payments, with loyalty programs, coupons, etc. Payments alone won't justify the hardware investments required to support NFC, so we'll need NFC to streamline several consumer interactions.
Second, there are potential players (like Paypal) that can offer alternative payment methods that create more competition in the space. That competition may, in turn, lower processing fees for retailers and finally do away with paper checks. So keep your eyes on these pilots.