U.S. Bank this morning announced it is piloting an interesting mobile payments service: NFC-enabled iPhone cases.
The service, called U.S. Bank Go Mobile, will be initially available to U.S. Bank FlexPerks Visa customers in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Portland, Ore.
Customers who qualify and opt-in for the service will receive a customized U.S. Bank Go Mobile iPhone case along with a new card. The case is equipped with NFC technology, which allows them to make payments at participating retailers that accept Visa payWave. The case also has an extra battery extending the phone’s charge time by more than 50 percent.
The bank is partnering with Visa, mobile contactless technology company DeviceFidelity and Datacard Group on this initiative.
Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for the bank's payment services group, said in a statement that the offering incorporates customer feedback from prior mobile payments pilots. Venturo has previously discussed some of U.S. Bank's NFC-based payments programs with Bank Systems & Technology, and believes the early signs for consumer adoption of mobile payments are strong.
Meanwhile, mobile device maker Incipio unveiled a product called Cashwrap at the recent Consumer Electroncics Show in Las Vegas. Like U.S. Bank's product, Cashwrap is an NFC-enabled iPhone case, and specifically works with the Isis mobile wallet service.
There has been much debate already about whether cloud or NFC-based wallets will end up being the preferred method of mobile payments by consumers. These recent announcements show that NFC enabled technologies are still a big factor in the nascent mobile wallet world.