Verizon hedges m-payments bets with Payfone partnership

Verizon hedges m-payments bets with Payfone partnership

US wireless operator Verizon is opening a new front in the mobile payment battle by offering consumers a direct bill-to-phone option through a partnership with New York-based Payfone.

Verizon recently joined American Express in a $19 million funding round for Payfone, which lets consumers link their mobile phone numbers to various payment methods and then use it to make online purchases.

Verizon already has a relationship with US start up BilltoMobile for direct carrier billing. The firm says the Payfone option opens up new markets for consumers, as well as providing other features, including intelligent routing, pre-authorsation and strong authentication.

Verizon is also a member of the Isis carrier triumvirate with T-Mobile and AT&T, which is bidding to develop an open NFC-based mobile wallet..

Greg Haller, marketing vice president, Verizon Wireless, says the Payfone partnership is complementary to the Isis joint venture: "Through our relationship with Payfone, we will be able to quickly offer value to our customers by offering them greater choice and a simple, safe and secure purchasing experience when shopping online from their smartphones, tablets and PCs."

Isis, beset by flip-flops over strategy and a slow go-to-market approach for its proposed digital wallet service, has recently been blindsided by Google in the nascent NFC payment space.

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