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25 January 2013

Visa Blesses RIM’s Mobile Payment Platform

When Research In Motion’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system launches at the end of this month, it will do so with its own mobile payment system. RIM said this week that Visa has approved its Secure Element Manager (SEM), a soup-to-nuts system that enables wireless payments on any mobile device that supports near field communication (NFC).

Visa’s endorsement of RIM’s SEM system is a big win for the company, and one that could make it a player in the mobile payments space. RIM has a great reputation for security, which will no doubt lend some appeal to its NFC platform. With the BlackBerry maker managing the back end and Visa vetting the payments itself, SEM could do much to bolster confidence in NFC payments, particularly in places like the U.S. that have been slow to embrace the technology.

That said, RIM’s NFC solution isn’t the only one on the market. There’s Google Wallet, which the search giant has been rolling out with the help of Mastercard Paypass. And soon Isis, the NFC platform conceived by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile USA, should be more widely available as well, assuming the first two trial deployments in Austin and Salt Lake City go well.

So RIM will have a battle to fight in the mobile payments space, just as it does in the smartphone space. But SEM is another selling point for its new BlackBerry 10 platform, and with carriers adding more and more NFC devices to their portfolios this year, it could prove a good one.


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