You don’t need an NFC-equipped iPhone 5 in order to make mobile payments in Europe. Visa is launching its Visa Mobile service in Europe, offering an external dongle for iPhone owners to use to get in on the action.
The Wireless Dynamics iCarte accessory is available through banks and mobile operators, and with the help of a Visa application from the App Store adds near-field communication (NFC) abilities to your iPhone.
Near-Field Communication is a type of wireless technology that allows one device to communicate securely and wirelessly with another by simply tapping the two together. The technology is expected to be used for mobile payments, and the functionality has already been included in a number of Android phones. With the iCarte accessory, European iPhone users can simply tap their activated dongle on a contactless-enabled point of sale terminal in Europe to make payments, eliminating the need to carry their actual Visa cart with them.
Many European retailers already support NFC technology, including all 1,200 McDonald’s locations in the UK. Apple is rumored to be including the technology in its next generation iPhone and iPad, but this dongle makes it possible for current iPhone owners to take advantage of the technology before that happens, or even after without having to update their handsets.
Mobile payments look to coming–and fast. What do you think about NFC technology? Can you see yourself using it?