Through the ever useful, Contactless Intelligence newsletter, I came across a piece of coverage about Nokia’s intention to integrate NFC (Near Field Communication) into more and more of their handsets, including the new N900 – which is coming out very very soon.
Thanks to being chummy with VISA over the past couple of years, I got to play with one of the prototypes of the phone for a good 6 months in 2009. I must say, it didn’t stick immediately but I am convinced that, by 2012 – the user interface will be waaaaay more intuitive and, as that was the biggest roadblock as far as I was concerned, I expect the pick-up will be much greater.
This doesn’t mean it will be a walk in the park for Nokia, it isn’t as if NFC will be considered as big a commodity as SMS was in the 90’s – not by a long shot – but it isn’t anything a healthy publicity campaign wouldn’t solve. The moment a bunch of 20+ year olds see, believe and trust that totting up and settling debts amongst friends can be as quickly solved as a couple of buttons, beeps and a waft of their mobile – the peer-to-peer micro payment will be alive and kicking.
From my perspective, this would have been incredibly helpful over the past few years for exactly that reason. The amount of times I paid for dinner with a friend, or bought something in full that would then need to be broken up amongst a small group of friends, only to find that all they had was cash or a 3 week wait whilst they finally found a moment to log onto the online banking was utterly frustrating.
Equally, instead of using this technology to settle up on shares of a larger debt to one person, a bunch of friends (all with NFC enabled handsets) that need to split a dinner bill of £60 directly to the waiting staff could simply apply a bit of basic mental division, type in their individual totals and send the authorised amount to the waiting staff’s handset/PDQ machine!
On an utterly serious note, I would very much like to see NFC technology adopt a far more consumer friendly title (and verb), “Bamph”. As in…
“Mate, you still owe me £8 from that round last night, I’m away next week so can you just bamph me it now?”
“Little Mikey, I’ll bamph you your pocket money… but first give your old Nan a hug!”
See? Sound awesome. Way more colloquial than NFC and one syllable shorter than PayWave!