Like it or not, the notion of a so-called “cashless society” is only a few implementations shy of reality – and we’d bet (which means we don’t know for sure) that future mobile phones – including the iPhone (future version) – will eventually carry RFID chips (or an equivalent technology) to help ensure your identity when making any kind of payment.
There’s been signs of this before, with banks introducing various account management applications for the iPhone. While these stop short at use of these devices as a payment or debit card at least one major force in the banking industry payment solutions world is working on a solution that does just that.
It’s attracted some interest from iPhone-types already, as representatives from the venture capital fund handling the $100 million iPhone developer ‘iFund’, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, recently took a look at the solution, which is being developed by Billing Solutions.
The mobile billing and credit card payment services company recently announced that it won the Under the Radar’s Judge’s Choice Award at Dealmaker Media’s Under the Radar event held on November 12, 2008 in Mountain View, California.
Here’s a video of the presentation Billing Solutions CEO, Andy Kleitsch, offered to judges at the event. He notes the digital goods market to be worth $30 billion a year, and confirms the system’s potential use in making payment for physical goods.
From a field of 33 companies vying for the award, Billing Revolution won on the basis of its “technology, market opportunity, and unique value proposition by a panel of judges, including corporate development executives from leading mobile/wireless companies; audience members and venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The award was given to recognise the market potential of the companys “single-click” mobile credit card checkout tool-box, which has been made available to iPhone, Android and BlackBerry application developers, as well as mobile marketing agencies and publishers launching branded applications.
Other winners at this event included: PhoneTopp, DialPlus, Mob4Hire, VuClip, MoFuse, Goodrec, Torch Mobile, and Smule.
The solution enables developers to “easily add on-the-go purchase capabilities to their existing mobile applications,” and while the focus of the product right now is on enabling developers to sell products and services within their applications, a secure credit card payment system for these mobiles can easily be imagined.
The judges must certainly be weighing up the potential for this. The panel included judges from a host of the biggest firms, including Verizon, Motorola, QUALCOMM, Microsoft, CBS Interactive, T-Mobile, BlueRun Ventures, KPCB’s iFund, VentureBeat, AT&T and others.
This isn’t merely a notion based on one company’s efforts in this space. Visa has already confirmed plans to develop a mobile payments-related services for Android, which will let users check accounts, make payments and so on using the device.
It’s likely company’s with enterprise-class infrastructures with which to handle micro-payments could take a look at this market. These would include mobile carriers – who have highly advanced systems for such payments – and online services firms, including Apple, which routinely handles small transactions.
The only inhibiting factor to progress of the theorem will be security and identity – you don’t want to spark an explosion in mobile phone thefts by making it too easy for criminals to use these stolen devices to clean out people’s bank accounts.
However, these barriers will be explored, potentially surmounted, and the introduction of new families of highly advanced mobile devices opens up such avenues.
Whether the public – you and me – will be prepared to accept such systems is open to question. Many may feel uneasy at the degree of information they would then be asked to carry with them on their mobile device.