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Blaze Mobile awarded patent for NFC sticker

The company's near-field communications sticker for handsets has been used by companies to test out tap-and-pay services.

Blaze Mobile said today it had been awarded a patent for its mobile wallet and a sticker that lets consumers to wave their phones in front of a checkout reader to pay for goods.

A Blaze Mobile NFC sticker. Blaze Mobile

Blaze was one of the early proponents of mobile payments, which has taken hold thanks to a strong push by the likes of Google, credit card issuers, handset manufacturers, and carriers. Blaze was also one of the first to embrace near-field communications technology, which enables tap-and-pay capability.

Blaze has sold an NFC sticker that would attach to the back of the phone and work in conjunction with the company's mobile wallet application to handle a transaction. It was a simple workaround to the dilemma of few NFC-enabled phones in the market.

The company's chief executive, Michelle Fisher, said the patent validates the company's NFC sticker technology, which she said has been replicated by others without proper credit.

The days of NFC stickers, which have mostly been used in trials, are likely numbered. More handset manufacturers are committing to putting NFC directly into their phones. For example, Google used the Samsung Nexus S, which has an NFC chip embedded in the device, to test its Google Wallet feature.

The Nexus S, with an integrated NFC chip, takes away from the need to use an NFC sticker attached to the back of the phone. Sprint Nextel

Fisher sees the move to integrated NFC phones as the next logical step.

"Blaze is not in competition with Google's Nexus NFC phone, or any other NFC phone," she said in a statement. "We offer consumers an alternative so they do not have to buy a new phone, or wait until more NFC phones are released."

Blaze is working on a text-message-based mobile wallet that would work with basic phones. The company said it expects to introduce the feature by the fourth quarter.