Thanks for sharing your article about the Google Wallet. Do you think Apple will create any competition? We are blogging about this topic now. http://www.lucidagency.com/google/expect-apple-to-release-its-own-version-of-google-wallet/
Interesting that you talk about how some kind of eWallet is being used in Hong Kong nowadays. Looks like NFC will become a very common interface in the mobile phones. I see that the technological development is in a phase in which the new technologies are very focused to solve a very particular need or problem. Bluetooth is constrained to a set of use cases or applications. NFC seems to be an interest technology which uses induction to transmit and receive data and also to power up the passive devices during the transfer, but… looks like it will have very few uses other than for money transactions. Will there be some other applications? Any ideas?
People in HK has been using eWallet for over 10 years (http://hong-kong-travel.org/Octopus/). The product starts from stored-value ticket for Mass Transit Railway (aka subway, tube). It is then proliferated to train and buses. Nowadays, you can use it to pay in a convenient store and even in any fast food restaurants.
Coming back to US, I have seen Google eWallet is gaining popularity. People are paying their coffee using Google eWallet. To make payment, the consumer needs to open an application and a bar code is shown for scan. As soon as the bar code is scanned correctly, a payment is made. With the steps, I don't think merchants need to spend a lot to get the infrastructure ready. To the consumers, they have to make a couple of steps and clearly, it will be difficult to people from some age group. With the help of NFC, I believe the steps to make a payment would be a lot simpler. It might come with a cost increase to the infrastructure in the merchants' side. Nonetheless, the biggest concerns, like Dave.Dystra said, is the security. If a payment can be made easily through NFC, would someone be able to steal your money by having a device getting close to your smartphone? Not to mention, there are security concerns in the merchants equipment and the network infrastructure.
Some very interesting conjectures here. As pointed out above, there have been other great ideas that just didn't pan out, so this one looks like a wait and see. Also as pointed out above, there is a great deal yet to be done in the way of security, etc. for this to be widely accepted.
Sounds like yet another protocol that may or may not be adopted. The wireless chips in visa cards is a great example of what was supposed to be revolutionary but in the end, it cost extra money so it wasn't adopted.
The payment using the mobile will be more suitable with better payer interaction compared to the card-swiping machines used in today's world. There is no doubt that mobile phone are much smarter devices compared to the card swiping machines, what required is a better foolproof protocol, encryption and authentication standard.