Intuit eyes NFC for mobile payment system

With a demo set for Google's I/O conference, Intuit is looking to modify its GoPayment service to use wireless near-field communication technology, eliminating the need for credit cards or card readers.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

A concept of Intuit's NFC-enabled GoPayment system.
A concept of Intuit's NFC-enabled GoPayment system. Intuit

Intuit wants to give its customers a glimpse of the future of mobile payments through an adaptation of its GoPayment service that eliminates the need for credit cards.

Tapping into the growing field of NFC (near-field communication) technology, Intuit's reimagined GoPayment service would let consumers wirelessly pay for items on the go through just a touch of an NFC-enabled cell phone.

With the necessary NFC hardware and credit card information stored on a mobile phone, consumers could leave their money and credit cards at home and use their phones to buy items and services at stores, restaurants, and other retail outlets. Retailers themselves would be able to send certain information back to the consumer's phone, including receipts, coupons, and loyalty programs.

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Intuit is showing off its potential new service at Google's I/O conference in San Francisco today and tomorrow. The new credit card-less GoPayments is being demonstrated as a concept, which means it's not ready for prime time yet but is something Intuit hopes to launch in the near future as more of the industry hops onto the NFC bandwagon.

The company is developing its new NFC GoPayment system using the Nexus S smartphone, which is currently the only mobile phone that supports NFC. Intuit is also eying the technology for Android-based tablets. Beyond the Android arena though, NFC-equipped phones from Nokia and Research In Motion are also due to hit the market later this year, opening up the field ever further.

At this week's demo, Intuit is planning to show how small-business owners will be able to use the GoPayment NFC software to complete a sale, scan an item for inventory, and send receipts and other information back to the consumer. Accepting a mobile payment would require the merchant and customer to tap their phones together, thereby wirelessly transferring the payment from the consumer's bank or credit card account. Scanning an item for inventory would require retailers to tap their phones against a product's smart tag, thus downloading the information into the mobile payment software.

"With GoPayment we are exploring every avenue for innovation that best meets our customers' needs, and this includes technologies such as NFC that are still in the early stages of adoption," Chris Hylen, vice president and general manager of Intuit's Payment Solutions division, said in a statement. "Innovation is happening rapidly in the mobile payment space and we want to be ready to help the millions of small businesses and consumers we serve benefit from the latest technology."