Google plots its mobile payment service where you can pay for goods via your phone. Sprint is in on the act. Square aims to replace cash registers with smartphones. Near field communications (NFC) could usher in a wave of e-payment mechanisms.
- Google on Thursday will unveil its mobile payment system.
- Square has its payment system.
- Wireless carriers can be payment systems.
- Let's not forget PayPal and eBay's ambitions.
- Apple's will likely move to make iTunes and all those customer accounts turn the iPhone into a payment mechanism.
- Amazon will also get into the game at some point.
Where are the credit card companies amid all these moves? Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover have the accounts, networks and customer relationships could have turned phones into payment systems with simple apps that would span multiple devices years ago. Update: Visa noted that it has a digital wallet that is cross platform. That effort was announced May 11.
However, these nascent effort from card players seem late. Credit card giants are allowing Google, carriers, upstarts and most likely Apple to be middlemen.
This e-payment scrum is going to make one interesting business school case study in the years ahead. The narrative will mostly revolve around how well established credit card networks missed the technology curve.