Verizon finds new partner for mobile payments

The wireless company says it will partner with mobile payments start-up Payfone. Customers can charge items via devices to their monthly wireless bill or through a credit card.


Verizon is working on a mobile payments service for smartphones, tablets, and PCs with mobile payments start-up Payfone.

The two companies made the announcement today, but did not reveal many details about how the service would work or a target date for when it will be ready for customers.

According to the release, Verizon customers will be able to make "online purchases" from a phone, tablet, or PC and send the charges to their monthly Verizon bill, or "traditional payment methods through financial partners," which implies credit cards.

Payfone's system will handle the routing, pre-authorization, and authentication.

Late last year Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T announced a joint venture payments system for mobile devices called Isis. Last month reports indicated the carriers were scaling backtheir plans for the ambitious payments service.

"Our relationship with Payfone complements the part of the mobile payments equation we're already working on with our Isis joint venture," said Verizon Vice President of Marketing Greg Haller in a statement.

Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson later expanded on that in a subsequent statement.

"For our customers buying goods and services remotely, using their mobile phone, Payfone will act as the enabling technology. When a customer uses her mobile phone to pay for goods and services in brick-and-mortar stores, it will be an Isis-enabled experience," Nelson said.

"Importantly, when both solutions are fully deployed, our customers won't need to make conscious choices about which payment method to use. This will occur automatically, in an easy and secure transaction, with one click on the phone," he added.

Verizon is one of several companies that have invested in Payfone. Others include American Express, Rogers Ventures, BlackBerry Partners Fund, Opus Capital, and RRE Ventures.

Updated at 12:08 p.m. PT with Nelson's quote.