AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are said to be working on a project in which smartphones could be used as payment devices (via Bloomberg News). The service is still in the beginnings of the pilot stage, with the project set to roll out in Atlanta and a few other US cities. Discover Financial Services and Barclays are working on the trial project, which uses contactless technology to convey the payments through Discover's payment network.
It hardly needs to be pointed out that smartphones have become necessities to many consumers; adding a widely adopted payment mechanism will only cement their role.
Already speculation has begun about what it could mean for mobile marketers - the Los Angeles Times, for example, suggested that retailers could pay for the technology involved if each transaction allowed them to upload advertisements and promotions directly onto people's phones.
Still a number of hurdles remain before yet another source of mobile ad opportunities becomes available. Contactless payment technology has not taken off in the U.S., Ted Bissell, a managing consultant with PA Consulting Group, told the E-Commerce Times. That because some fundamental issues still have to be addressed, including “questions of customer ownership, credit risk, supply of mobile e-wallets and compliance with banking regulations," he said.