The smartphone is already used for a number of functions that we never expected to do on a phone before, and a new deal struck by Visa and Samsung is set to expand the device's all-in-one capability.
On Monday, Feb. 25, the two companies announced a deal that will allow upcoming Samsung products to connect to Visa's payment network as soon as they're turned on. Samsung is one of the first companies to get involved in the Visa Ready program that was introduced last week, and the goal is to make near field communication (NFC) payments easier to perform and more widespread.
According to TechCrunch, the first Samsung device to incorporate the new technology will be the Galaxy S4, scheduled to be revealed at a March 14 event in New York City. The payment capability is set to expand quickly, as both Visa and Samsung are predicting more than 100 million tablets and smartphones will ship with the feature during the next year.
New Samsung phones and tablets will come with Visa's payWave applet pre-loaded and pre-certified. As TechCrunch reports, "banks and others launching mobile payment services will, via a set of APIs, use Visa's new Mobile Provisioning Service to securely download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices." That means it'll be easier to use your phone to pay for things without sacrificing your account's security.
Many analysts also expect Apple to incorporate NFC payment features into its next iPhone, but Visa wouldn't comment specifically on the subject. Whether or not Apple decides to embrace tech, it's only one company out of many global phone makers, and the decision wouldn't decide the fate of NFC payments.
"There are lots of brands and many operating systems," said Bill Gajda, Visa's global head of mobile product. "I don't see one handset maker's entrance or lack of entrance as a sign of anything."
Swiping your phone to pay for groceries, movie tickets, bus passes, and more isn't something that's done by most Americans at this point, but that could change in the next few years. If the infrastructure is there and security provisions are proven to work effectively, it's not hard to see NFC payments taking off, or even dominating the future of everyday transactions.