Slowly but surely, NFC (the tech that’ll let us ditch our wallets in favor of paying for things with a Jedi-wave of our phones) is picking up steam. After years of floundering around in the US, NFC took a major leap forward when Google announced support for it in Android. Shortly thereafter, Google doubled down their efforts with the announcement of Google Wallet.
Today, NFC gains another huge supporter: PayPal. At the MobileBeat 2011 Conference this morning, PayPal Mobile senior director Laura Chambers debuted the company’s first Android NFC endeavor: phone-to-phone PayPal transactions.
Here’s how it works:
Alas, there’s one catch worth noting: NFC is… a bit limited on Android right now. That is, it’s currently only available on the Nexus S. A number of other companies have pledged to add NFC support in the coming months — but for now, Nexus S owners are stuck in a private party with other Nexus S owners. On the upside, the handset manufacturers have some time to catch up: this PayPal widget won’t be available until later this summer.
Also worth noting: for the time being, this is strictly phone-to-phone. While it’d be surprising if PayPal didn’t try to figure out some sort of consumer-to-business NFC solution (hey, they’ve gotta hold their own against Square somehow), they’re not talking about that just yet.
Update: Reader Steve Dondley asked about what percentage PayPal takes in these transactions, and we forwarded the question onto PayPal. Here’s their response:
P2P transactions through PayPal are free if using a bank account or existing balance in the customer’s PayPal account.