In Germany, bank cards come with NFC chips that let you make small payments just by tapping your wallet onto the POS machine. You pre-load the chip with money from your bank account (only small amounts are allowed, because if you lose the card you lose the money) and spend it as cash.
So I finally see the point of NFC in a phone. And now I can have NFC in my iPhone, thanks to Incipio’s Cashwrap case.
The key part of NFC payments is – obviously – infrastructure. Germany hates credit cards, and many big-box stores refuse to take them. So we use e-cash cards, or real cash money. I’d find it a lot more convenient to use my iPhone to pay for my morning bread rolls than my bank card.
Anyhow, the new Incipio Cashwrap is a case with an NFC chip inside that’ll let you make contactless payments using AT&T’s Isis Mobile Wallet app. You data is stored on an SD card or – as the absurdly wordy press release puts it – a “DeviceFidelity microSD based secure element platform.” The inclusion of a microSD cable with the $70 case makes me think that you’re going to have yet another device to sync and charge.
This is clearly not the answer. The chip should be in the phone so it can be used by app. After all, what’s the point of an NFC case if you can only use it to make payments form one provider? You may as well just keep your NFC bank card in a a regular iPhone wallet case.
Still, it’s a beginning at least.