May 25, 2012 3
Hot on the heels of the FNB Geo Payments application addition launched in the second half of May 2012; Mixit officially launched their own “geo payment” capability. But what do geo payments mean for the man in the street and more importantly, what does this technology mean for businesses that were only just getting to grips with NFC?
Geo payments are defined as payments based on the proximity of “authorised” devices. Geo payments make use of GPS to check how close two devices are to each other; if the two devices are within range (typically set at 500m) the application then authenticates the transaction. FNB launched their geo payments edition to their BlackBerry, Android and Apple versions of their banking application yesterday.
The beauty of geo payments in their current form is that – unlike with NFC payments – you don’t need a reader and a NFC enabled cellphone to complete the transaction. Further to that the paying party also does not need to have a credit card; only a bank account that has the eWallet functionality enabled.
Mixit’s geo payment application – Gust – was launched on May 7 2012.
Gust works when two devices are close to each other. The merchant can then request a payment from the mobile phone user. Unlike other payment systems which use geo-fencing logic, Gust does not need a GPS device or even a GSM connection. Gust rather takes the route of simply using wi-fi, your name and your photo to make a payment with devices on the same wifi network, discovering each other using that basic information. With all communication occurring over the wifi network, the payment process is very fast.
The developer of Gust– TrustFabric CEO Joe Botha says, “The idea with the Gust project was to design a really quick and reliable mobile payment experience without NFC.”
As of writing, Stellenbosch is the only town in South Africa where the Gust payment application is running, and has been doing so for the small group of testers since early April of 2012. Stellenbosch was the perfect test case as it is the only town in South Africa to also offer free wifi to all.
Both these advancements have made the intentions clear that NFC is not going to be the mobile payment option of choice – at least not in South Africa as they are not as restrictive with their barriers to entry as neither the merchant, nor the payer need to have NFC chips or readers.
Mobile payment advances such as these are huge advances for society moving more and more towards being truly cashless. Merchants as a result will become less of a target for crime as there will be virtually no cash on the premises.
Big business and merchants will need to aggressively prepare for the early adopters of this new technology as they will be demanding it the second it becomes slightly more commercially available to the mass market.
Are geo-payments going to take the world by storm or are they going to fade away in to obscurity? We would love to hear your thoughts.
For more information on geo-payments, please contact Reinhard Arndt on firstname.lastname@example.org
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