Brennon Slattery
PC World
August 3, 2010

AT&T and Verizon are moving into the business of wireless electronic payments with plans to displace traditional credit and debit cards with smartphones, according to Bloomberg.

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AT&T and Verizon, the two largest U.S. mobile carriers, are also partnering with T-Mobile, and are in talks with Discover and the U.K. bank Barclays. Tapping your iPhone or Droid at a cash register sounds like an efficient way to reduce wallet clutter, and based on the program’s success overseas, may have American credit card companies scrambling for relevance.
What’s the Technology?

Wireless “swipe” payments utilize Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, a short-range high frequency radio wave that can exchange data between devices within four inches. To make smartphones capable of this exchange, they would have to be equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags — already seen in U.S. passports. RFID tags could either be embedded into the device during the manufacturing process or they could be applied to an existing smartphone.

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