VeriFone, the payments systems subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard, has joined forces with Palm in an initiative to replace the credit card swipe with infra-red payment transfer at the cash register.
In the short term, the partnership will focus on the beaming of financial and payment information from a Palm handheld to a VeriFone point of sale (POS) payment terminal using infrared technology, and then onto existing financial institutions' payment networks. In addition, the companies say they will work to make Palm handhelds to access third party content through a VeriFone payment terminal.
"We expect this solution to replace the standard credit card swipe with an elegant, secure electronically-authorised transaction," says Doug Solomon, chief strategy officer of Palm.
Under the agreement, VeriFone terminals running the Palm mobile payment application will be infra red-enabled to make the merchant point of sale a Palm interaction and synchronisation point.
"VeriFone recognises that e-payment is evolving to allow payment from any personal device, like the popular Palm handhelds," says Pierre-Francois Catte, vice president and general manager at VeriFone. "In conjunction with Palm we will be able to offer merchants an ideal solution for secure 'Point and Pay' capability along with a variety of payment options and non-payment value-added e-services."
In a sperate announcement, VeriFone also unveiled plans for a Payment Roaming service, designed to enable secure, mobile commerce through multiple networks regardless of the mobile device or payment appliance used. VeriFone says the aim of Payment Roaming is to allow anyone using any mobile device with Internet connectivity, such as a mobile phone, vending machine, set top box, or PDA, to conduct payment.
Under the VeriFone vision, consumers will activate their eWallets remotely, sparking off an information exchange with a third party host network through which the transaction is initiated.
For the initiative to come to fruition, it requires the support of an interconnected community including network operators and carriers, Internet service providers, device manufacturers, card associations, and financial institutions, says VeriFone.