BlackBerry handsets certified for MasterCard payments

28 Oct 2011

BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion (RIM), has announced that the new BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Curve 9360 have been certified by MasterCard as PayPass-enabled devices.

Receiving this certification is a major milestone for the BlackBerry because from here RIM, MasterCard and telecommunications service providers can work together to utilise the inbuilt Near Field Communication (NFC) technology on these phones and transform them into digital wallets by integrating MasterCard PayPass accounts onto the SIM card. This then enables users to make quick payments by simply tapping the phone on a MasterCard PayPass reader.

In a bid to regain lost market share, BlackBerry is one of the first smartphones to push NFC technology to its full potential. RIM recently launched the BlackBerry Tag, which essentially enables BlackBerry users to transfer data, pictures and contact information by bumping the handsets together. This is similar to the iPhone and Android Bump apps, but instead of using a wifi connection or the phone’s internet data plan, BlackBerry Tag uses the NFC technology.

Andrew Bocking, vice president of RIM handheld software product management, said: “NFC technology is making smartphones even smarter and the MasterCard certification is a significant step forward in helping transform the way we use mobile devices for payments.”

So far, MasterCard, RIM and Etisalat, a telecommunications provider in the Middle East, have launched PayPass payment trials via the Bold 9900 across the region.

NFC technology, though not too widespread now, will change mobile technology in the near future. According to a report by technology provider Amadeus titled Navigating the Airport of Tomorrow, NFC will soon be used for checking in at airports, amongst other things, as the technology becomes more widespread. The study predicts that by 2015, 247 million smartphones will be NFC-enabled worldwide, up from the current 3 million. 

For more on the new BlackBerry Bold 9900, click here. For more on future airport technologies, view our in-depth feature stories here and here

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Alisha Haridasani

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