File this under it’s not over until it’s over.
Not long after Google seemed to fire a pre-emptive shot in the brewing mobile payments war with its smartphone-based Google Wallet, now New York-based payments company Payfone has announced a deal with Verizon Wireless that, says Payfone CEO Rodger Desai, will put the ability to pay on the fly in the hands of 100 million Verizon customers before year end.
Key to the Payfone solution is that it hinges on the phone number - “that’s becoming a universal identifier,” said Desai – and unlike, say, Google Wallet there is no need for users to buy new cellphone hardware to pay by phone. Payfone will work on virtually any mobile phone, said Desai.
“It’s about putting your phone number into the merchant’s system - that’s all that is needed to purchase,” he said.
Another Payfone partner is American Express, said Desai, who suggested that company will help Payfone in its rollout of payment services to merchants.
A Payfone difference: charges can accrue on a customer’s mobile phone bill, or be directed to credit cards, possibly checking accounts.
Desai also indicated Payfone will be signing up additional carriers in the United States.