With near field communications and a nod from Visa, BlackBerry has a mobile payments advantage.
It may be temporary, but for the moment Research in Motion and its BlackBerry smartphones have an advantage in the soon to be hot mobile payment market.
RIM announced today that Visa has approved its Secure Element Manager (SEM) solution for near field communications (NFC). SEM is the RIM-developed backend solution that carriers will use to securely manage credentials on a phone’s SIM (subscriber identity module) card, in conjunction with NFC, it will allow consumers to make small purchases (say, a beverage from a pop machine) from their phone and have it charged directly to their credit card.
“The approval from Visa of RIM’s SEM solution is an important step in that it will enable carriers to support Visa issuing banks and financial institutions,” said Frank Maduri, senior director of NFC services and TSM product management at RIM, in a statement. “We now offer carriers a robust solution with around-the-clock global support that works on any NFC-capable device, and meets the stringent technology and usability guidelines for Visa.”
Apple decided last year to not include NFC support in the iPhone 5, but Android handset developers such as Samsung, Nokia and HTC are all embracing it and developing their own mobile payment solutions.