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:
- Person 1 begins a money send or money request via a homescreen widget
- Person 1 and 2 hold their NFC-enabled Android phones together until they vibrate.
- Person 2 punches in their pin. Bam! Just like that, the money is transfered. It’s like the Wonder Twins, except instead of rings you have phones and instead of turning into an eagle or a bucket of water you get money.
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.