Tap, swipe, bump and now buzz.
No, those are not the names of the modern-day financial seven dwarves, but rather various ways people are making payments.
The latter, introduced by PayPal this week might be the most exciting development in near field communications (NFC) payments outside of Google Wallet this year. And it'll be available to customers on NFC-enabled Android phones by the end of this summer.
PayPal is introducing what looks like a dead-simple implementation of person-to-person NFC payments in app form. It appears to work when a user initiates a request for payment in an on-screen widget and then touches phones with a fellow NFC-enabled device owner who has the app. When the phones buzz, and when the payor enters his or her pin, the transaction is done.
It's not unlike Paypal's Bump Technologies-enabled iPhone app, but with NFC, which has all the hype in mobile payments technology these days. And while the number of NFC enabled phones is still minuscule compared to the number of, well, pretty much any other payments technology out there, Yankee Group did recently project 300 percent growth in NFC-enabled devices by 2015
Fittingly, PayPal, which is often credited as a disruptive force in driving the adoption of electronic P2P payments, would be among the first to launch a practical application of P2P mobile payments on the shoulders of new implementations of technology.
As PayPal Mobile senior director Laura Chambers writes in a blog post:
We’re seeing staggering growth in PayPal mobile payments, showing a real consumer desire for the way they shop and pay to catch up with the way we live. But at PayPal, we’ve said all along that consumer behavior won’t change unless we’re able to offer an experience that’s truly better than what’s available today. We’ve been looking at NFC technology for a while and we saw a tremendous opportunity to combine the best of NFC and the best of PayPal.
PayPal is again leading the pack by bringing NFC payments to life on the Android platform.
Here's a video of PayPal's NFC tech in action: