I absolutely hate carrying around both my phone and my wallet in my pocket. What if I could just carry around my phone and my driver’s license? That would be awesome. If MobilePay USA takes off, my wish will come true.
The company, which was the TechCrunch Disrupt attendee pick to come out of the Startup Alley today seems fairly amazing. It’s an iPhone app (right now, but they will expand it to many mobile platforms) that replaces your credit cards and loyalty cards. You simply enter in your credit card data (but don’t worry, it isn’t stored on your device, it’s securely stored in the cloud) and you can pay for things with the click of a button rather than fumbling around for and carrying all your credit cards.
The app also has a location element which adds to the ease. When you load it up, it looks to see what stores are around you. From here, you can check-in to the venue and make a payment. (There is a venue deals component too.) You choose which card you want to use, enter in how much you want to pay, any tip (if applicable) and you’re done. The payment is transmitted and accepted without you having to do anything. Assuming the venue accepts MobilePay USA payments, they’ll see that you just paid for a product.
Here’s the best part: this doesn’t require merchants to install any new equipment. There is no need for NFC (near field communication) a mobile payment technology (which is non-existent in the U.S.). This all works behind the scenes with existing services. All the consumer needs to do is download the app and enter their cards.
Obviously, there has been no shortage of companies that try to turn your phone into your wallet over the years. But again, this one is interesting because it just works without any new hardware.
And yes, you can do mobile to mobile payments too. And it tracks customer loyalty on the fly with real transactions.
So what happens if you lose your phone? Well, first of all, there’s a password lock for the app. But you can also remove access to your cards from anywhere on the web (again, the numbers aren’t actually stored on the device itself).
MobilePay USA makes money by taking 1 percent of every transaction (which a vendor would pay for). The team notes, this is similar to the way American Express began. You offer a perk at a small premium.
Feedback and Q & A by expert judges Sean Parker, James Slavet, Greg Tseng, and Victoria Randsom (paraphrased):
VR: Are people willing to do this? Both customers and merchants?
A: There are a lot of incentives for users. The payment itself is the first trick pony, but there’s more. We’re just moving into beta — we hope to be fully ready by November. We’re signing up merchants now.
We’re also replacing loyalty cards. What if you don’t have the card? You don’t need it anymore.
GT: I think this is awesome. How are you going to make money?
A: We’re going to get paid per-sale. Every time a sale goes through, we get 1 percent. But there’s more — offers are possible.
SP: I think the technology is interesting. But the question is: will the consumer be able to get it?
JS: Tell us more about the tech team.
A: We have 10 people on the team. We raised about $100,000 to date — we’ve bootstrapped basically everything.