Verizon and AT&T team up in hopes to kill off credit and debit cards using smartphones

By Adam Zeis on 2 Aug 2010 10:48 am EDT
Smartphone Credit Card

They don't often agree on much, but when they do it could prove a huge blow. Such is the case as they team up along with T-Mobile USA to take on Visa, MasterCard and the like in hopes of bringing mobile payments to smartphones. The new system is being tested in Atlanta and 3 other US cities and allows users to simply swipe their smartphone to make retail payments. This could be a huge move in the smartphone market, giving us one more "all-in-one" use for our devices. The project would require NFC chips in said phones and new terminals for merchants, but it would make things much easier on both ends so don't forsee much resistance.

Via: Engadget

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Verizon and AT&T team up in hopes to kill off credit and debit cards using smartphones


This is something I was hoping RIM would do,

Get into the Debit/Credit Card reader market and make a product that can display / read a barcode you have your credit card barcode on your BB screen, it reads accepts it, and emails you a copy of the receipt the email being also built into the Barcode, on the flip side the unit displays a Barcode that allows you to directly download the receipt in low signal areas.

your payment could be sent to a Money-style application that allows you to look at your expenditures and have an online checkbook. I like this idea.

Also, wasn't T-Mobile also doing this? It was in the Engadget article, not just Verizon and ATT. I wonder why Sprint hasn't decided to follow suit.

Was this meant as a reply to my post? or the topic in general? I was not aware that they have been using email receipts in Asia!

yup, heard T-mobile USA is working together in that venture as well. This is really cool but putting all your eggs in one basket also could mean bigger losses when security is involved...

but at least everyone would lose, so they would all stay on the same level. Just a lower level.

I can see this being a lot safer. It's much harder to lose your phone than a credit card, especially if the phone is always on your hip or in your pocket like it is for us crackberrians.

No thanks. I don't want my bank information transmitted wirelessly through my phone. I know BlackBerry's are safe and all, but I really don't mind carrying around a few plastic cards.

I agree with this, really it doesn't matter what phone it is, no phone will be safe. NFCs has a long way to go to prove itself reliable in my opinion. Don't want to make it easier for people to experience identity theft now do we?

Just an FYI if you are worried about your information that much, you best be keeping your bank cards inside a metal case, the magnetic strips are readable as far as 10 feet away with the right hardware, and that hardware is small enough to look like a lunch box.

THEN beyond that, chances are your information is being transmitted wirelessly from the Gas Pump to the station, and to their head office,

I've had my bank card compromised and a considerable amount of money removed from my bank, and I take the precautions, and even as much as I know there are soo many more ways to steal peoples identity!

Well I didn't say using regular cards was fool proof, I was just saying I trust them more than I would a phone, which you didn't really explain how it's safer.

I imagine that the NFC chip will be hardwired into the device, allowing it read / write to the chip as you save your bank information onto it, and or update it over time.

That being the case, and I can't speak for other devices (ie. iPhones), if you're using a Blackberry and you use the encryption feature to protect the data on the device memory, then yes that pretty much makes it much much more secure than your plastic card. You can buy a $20 card reader off eBay that will read your bank information off of pretty much any plastic card in existence.

If you lose your plastic card, the thief has a several hour buffer to go shopping, before you realize / accept that you lost it. With your blackberry, if you use a password lock on your device the thief has zero hours to go shopping with your stolen phone. And being that its a Blackberry, the time it takes to break the encryption on the device, and steal your bank information off of your stolen phone, will be never for the average person.

this idea is wonderful and probably really convenient but i don't know how i feel about having all of my info on my bb. i understand they can make it "safe" but i feel more secure just using my cards. i live through my bb enough haha if anything ever happened to me, i could be rebuilt using the info on my bb

I agree with the concern Thynameisjamar has.....

What happens if you lose your berry, and don't have any kind of remote wipe app solution? Can the person use it?

I don't see why not if you don't have a password lock on your Berry. Also, if you call your carrier to deactivate the line/phone but you don't have an app solution for wiping the phone, can the bar code still be accessed and used........?

Still many questions. But it is something I would very much wait on before even considering utilizing.....

When something goes wrong with this system? Duplicate charge, overcharge, fraudulent charge? An AT&T or Verizon rep probably ends up transferring you to your bank, and then your bank will probably state that it's your carriers fault and transfer you back to AT&T or Verizon. Even when you finally get to someone who can/will fix, I am sure there's some kind of ridiculous turn around.

The idea sounds great, but I am leery.

That's sad. While countries in Africa are doing that to make banking more accessible to the poor, here in America we are doing it to help the lazy people who've already got some money.

I'm not sure it's our sedentary lives that make this appealing, as it is the way we do business now. Besides the rare instances of needing "cold cash", I never visit my brick and mortar bank. In fact, the actual bank I opened my account in many years ago is in a different state and I have never had the need to revisit it.

Having my BlackBerry with this feature with the lock enabled is safer than my wallet. If I lost my cell phone, no one could use it right away if it's locked. After 10 failed attempts the phone would wipe itself clean. On the other hand, if I lost my wallet, someone could pick it up and start shopping right away.

I've been hoping for something like this since about 07' when I got my 1st Curve 8300. The strip on top of the device reminded me of the strip on my debit card. I knew It'd be a matter of time before someone tried to run with it. I would be willing to try it. Admittedly I would be a little nervous to use it but I'm sure that was the case with people when the debit/credit card came about.

I'm sure the software would be written with a few safeguards in place. Our debit cards require entering a PIN when running a debit transaction. Why not write the software to require a PIN be entered directly into the phone for each transaction?

Another great feature would be tying into your banks online software to allow you to monitor real-time balances. So right after you "swipe" your phone, it shows what your new balance. It would be cool to open a payment app on your Berry and select which payment you want to use, like your VISA debit, Mastercard, AMEX, or even PayPal and next to each selection having it show you your available balance so you can decide which one is best to use.

I can see a bit of potential for it. But security has to be first and foremost .

Was I the only one who thought that the article heading was misleading? Upon reading it I thought the article would be about VZW and AT&T teaming up to put a stop on smartphones being able to accept credit cards. But after reading, I realized it's the opposite? What's up with that Mr. Adam Zeis. Engadget's heading made more sense "AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile team up to transform your smartphone into a credit card." Simple and to the point. :).

I would love to have something like this! Yeah security would be a consideration, but it is right now when you walk down the street with cash & cards in your pocket.

All I can say is that bitchy teen working the Wendy's Drive-Thru better have something she can lean out the window with for me to scan my phone - I ain't handing my 'berry up to her.

I would love to have something like this! Yeah, additional security would be a consideration, but it is right now with cash & cards in your pocket.

More and more intermediriary steps before we are all equipped with RFID chips under our skin. All in the name of convenience.

There's an Idaho company called RFinity that's been doing this for a few months now, with stickers that go on your battery and microsd cards. Everyone's trying to get a piece of that pie.
And as far as RFID chips, you know what, I wouldn't mind (as long as it doesn't track you via GPS). Crdit card fraud would effectively disappear.

So basically, when I lose my BB, then the new owner got my BB and a new credit card to shop with? So what are the security measures for such a step?

have you ever looked at passwording your BB

10 wrong passwords and everything is gone! clearned unsusable. far more secure then the little leather wallet in your back pocket.

Personally, I only carry and use a single card. My debit card. I don't have 6 different credit cards and so on like many people do. So carrying that single card is far from inconvienent.

That being said, I might use this. My card doesn't have an NFC chip in it now, though I was considering getting one. I'd be much happier with it on my phone though. I do have to wonder, though, if it will just be a passive chip like the cards have. Or since you're dealing with more space and a much more advanced piece of equipment than most of them are in, if they could be toggled on and off. That would be a selling point for me. If I had the option to turn it on and off (like bluetooth, WiFi, etc) then I would totally go for it. That would make it substantially more secure. Otherwise this isn't all that appealing to me. I'll just keep swiping away.

I do have a question, though. What is the "huge blow" here to? They will continue to make credit/debit plastic cards for years and years to come because not only do millions of people without smartphones use credit/debit cards, but lots of people just don't like the idea of the NFC chip in the card, and to get this intertwined in many smart phones will take years as well.

With the Freedom of Information Act BUBBA signed back in the 90's bringing on all kinds of identity fraud, am I the only one that sees this as BAD??!! LOL...but I don't use credit cards

What's everyone so worried about? If its coming to blackberry RIM will find the most secure way possible, I mean, I couldn't go to a guy I know and pay him €20 to unlock my phone because its a blackberry, with password enabled, its safer than the pentagon servers, so relax, plus nobody's gonna force you to use it of you don't feel like evolving!

Kid at store with mom or random stranger needing to make an emergency phone call to sick mother, etc. Next phone bill, I did't buy a (insert example here)........

Now my card wont be de magnetized by my phone because my phone will be my card too!! LOL!! Awesome IDEA!

If the percentage is less than Visa/Master/Discover/AMEX then it might work... If it costs more to the merchants then this is DOA... Merchants have a huge say in the matter... Everyone seems to be looking at things from the customer's side.. when if no merchants like or want to use said system, the customer has zero choice....
After reading this article, I'm still convinced this is a bad idea. According to the article, you would be charged a fee to use the service. So on top of spending 300 plus your local taxes on an item, you have to pay another fee to use the service? Not cool and if you can do the majority of your banking from your phone, what's the point of having tellers and other bank staff? This could be a step towards losing more jobs. IDK. And I haven't read anyone address the topic that it says SMARTPHONES not just Blackberry phones so how safe would that be for the other smartphone users who don't have the encryption luxury that us BB users have? Just a little too sketchy for me.