Bank of America to run NFC payments trial in New York

Bank of America will begin a field trial next month in partnership with Visa that will enable customers to use their smartphones to pay for purchases in stores, according to a Reuters news report.

“The program, set to run from September through the end of the year in the New York area, is the biggest step yet by the biggest US consumer bank toward creating a ‘digital wallet’ with a host of financial capabilities built into the latest, most sophisticated mobile phones,” says Reuters.

Reuters says only that “the program will allow selected New York-area employees and customers to install small chips in their smartphones that emit radio signals over very short distances.” A MicroSD-based solution is most likely, given that Visa partnered with DeviceFidelity in February this year.

Bank of America ran its first NFC trial back in 2007 and industry rumours suggest that the banking giant hired IBM to custom build a Trusted Service Management platform some time ago. According to Reuters, however, the company is not revealing how large the pilot will be or which other companies will be involved:

For now, cell phone payments are used primarily for small-dollar, high-volume transactions — like cups of coffee or subway fare — that customers make every day, said Michael Upton, BofA’s customer solutions executive for mobile banking.

“We want to learn how folks incorporate this into their day-to-day lives,” Upton said. “But we do believe adoption happens at a pretty quick clip.”

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