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QSecure Inc has announced what it calls a solution for "breaking the mobile payment stalemate." It's IMAGO, a product that combines a "powered payment card" with an app for iOS, Android and Windows phones.
A powered payment card is a plastic card with the technology inside to sync the card with the app and dynamically write account information to its mag stripe.
As for the app, it lets users store all their payment, loyalty and ID cards — basically anything with a mag stripe — in one place just like a digital wallet. The app will store up to 100 individual credit, debit, loyalty and ID accounts to sync with the powered payment card.
When the two pieces are combined, just by placing the card against the screen of a smartphone with the app running, the IMAGO card is reprogrammed to emulate the account selected. It's one card masquerading as any card the user wants it to be and it can be swiped at any point of sale terminal like a regular card.
"The war of the wallets is on between big players like Visa, MasterCard, Google, Square, and Apple, but merchants and consumers are waiting to see which of these platforms will become predominant," said QSecure CEO Mike Cummings in the announcement. "Because our solution uses the phone’s display to communicate with the card, it can be used with any smartphone running our IMAGO App. There is no need for consumers to wait for the next generation smartphone or for merchants to change their credit card terminals to take advantage of mobile wallets."
QSecure also sends users a card reading dongle like those used with mobile point of sale solutions to make entering card data easier. Instead of keying in the card number, expiration date and security code, the user need only swipe the card through the reader to store the information. The user can then take a picture of the card to capture any information not on the mag stripe such as the security code, cardholder name, etc.
The card reader is secure and the application on the phone stores the data in an encrypted form. The powered card is secure too and can only communicate with a paired app. (The card even has a power button that can lock it so it can't be used even if it's misplaced or stolen.)
A video from QSecure demonstrating the solution is below.
QSecure said the new product will be shipped to consumers in early 2013. The only rub is that the solution, including the powered card and reader, costs $59. It remains to be seen whether consumers are anxious to replace multiple free cards with a $59 alternative just to make their wallets thinner.
For more stories like this, visit the mobile/virtual wallet research center.