Bank of America launching NFC Trial
Boy Genius Report reported today that Bank of America is launching a BlackBerry-only NFC mobile wallet trial.
Participation is by invitation only and requires an active Bank of America credit or debit card and specific BlackBerry versions. RIM BlackBerry models supported are:
- BlackBerry Curve 8520, 8530
- BlackBerry Tour 9630
- BlackBerry Bold 9000, 9650, 9700
All BlackBerrys must have the ability to download applications enabled.
According to BGR, Bank of America is sending new battery covers to participants with a microSD NFC card. Contactless NFC payments can be made wherever Mastercard PayPass is accepted. It’s unclear how this works for Visa cards.
Bank of America’s microSD approach enables them to provide payments without carrier participation and most importantly without having to share revenue with carriers. The challenge with this approach is that many phones, specifically the iPhone, do not have microSD slots.
Bank of America is an investor in mobile vendor mFoundry who provides BlackBerry applications. It is likely that mFoundry is participating in this process although mFoundry has been losing key NFC talent like Benjamin Vigier who went to Apple, Jon Squire who went to SK C&C, and Bjorn Hildahl who works with me at Kony.