“NFC has no value,” said Keith Rabois, COO of mobile payment firm Square, during a statement at the GigaOM 20011 Mobilize conference Monday in San Francisco.
There’s no doubt NFC is a threat to Square’s business with the likes of Google, ISIS and even Visa shoring up NFC-based mobile wallets. But to come out with such a statement seems a little over the top. NFC is a very promising technology. And while it can be used for mobile payments, there are so many other applications — including user-friendly device pairing; quick and simple on-boarding to public Wi-Fi networks; application-sharing between mobile devices; and a slew of marketing ideas — where consumers can “tap” into a store or entertainment locale and quickly learn of promotions, events or information of interest.
Earlier today, I learned of a cool, wearable “NFC wristband” developed by VITAband and introduced to the market by US Bank in July. It’s for people on the go who don’t want to carry a wallet — runners are one classic example — but need critical information on their person. VITAband is a contactless payment system combined with the owner’s emergency medical information. It’s a dual-purpose solution in a simple-to-carry, simple-to-use form-factor.
Whether it’s Google versus Square, Visa versus PayPal or clearXchange taking on the traditional payment network, there promises to be many horses in this race. And even many different races within the mobile payments arena. Exciting times are ahead whether you’re a technology vendor, a market analyst, a payments company or something we all are — the ever-sought-after consumer!