The next big thing in the evolution of mobile devices seems to be near-field communication, or NFC. This essentially allows the user to store financial information on their smartphone or tablet, and then merely tap that device at the checkout register to make an instant purchase. Google's Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" has NFC support baked right in, but the feature can't be used if the device doesn't already sport the hardware needed for NFC transactions, right?
Wrong. Enter moneto, the world’s first commercially available mobile payment solution that provides iPhone and Android users a convenient way to pay while on the go. For iOS users, it's a simple process of inserting a special microSD card, snapping on a patented, protective case, installing the moneto app, and activating the chip. Users can launch the moneto app to view their account balance, check transaction history and make everyday in-store purchases with a tap of their iPhone at any PayPass-enabled contactless payments reader at the point of sale. The moneto pre-paid account can be funded by direct deposit, ACH transfer or through services like MoneyCram and Western Union.
"As this breakthrough mobile wallet launches in the US, it not only makes mobile payments available to iPhone users for the first time but it also opens the door for consumers to adopt NFC while pushing mobile commerce forward," said Deepak Jain, DeviceFidelity President and CEO. "We are excited to partner with MasterCard and SpringCard to break the barriers for a rapid effective rollout that will spur both consumers and merchants to adopt this new wave of electronic commerce."
DeviceFidelity, the company behind moneto, assures consumers that it's completely safe to use, protected by In2Play technology that securely stores the user's PIN on the microSD card. "The sleek and durable case design protects the iPhone and the NFC enabled microSD securely stores and encrypts the card information," the company added. "Additionally, the moneto account is backed by MasterCard’s Zero Liability, which protects consumers against unauthorized purchases."
As for Android devices, DeviceFidelity didn't provide any launch details, only that a number of Android models will also be supported by 2Q12. According to the FAQ, the microSD card can be inserted and used like any other microSD card, as it provides local storage in addition to NFC tech. An additional sticker applicator is required to be placed on the outside of both the Android and iPhone to "boost" the signal that originates from the special card. Unfortunately, iPhone users can't use the moneto card as a storage solution due to Apple restrictions.
Moneto for iPhone will be available for online ordering in the US immediately at moneto.me for $79.95 which includes $10.00 of pre-loaded funds. The moneto mobile wallet iOS app is available in limited release on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 3.