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From RIM's 4G BlackBerry to NFC and GPS apps, mobile payments a focus

The mobile payments market continues to grow in all directions. T-Mobile today launched the RIM's first 4G BlackBerry smartphone, the Bold 9900, also its first with an NFC chip, the payment technology favored by Google Wallet.

For the millions of smartphones without NFC—which Apple, Nokia and other will include in upcoming devices—Dwolla days ago introduced Proxi, a GPS-based featue that helps users to locate merchants and other users able to swap funds without the need for NFC.

The Des Moines-based Dwolla, for a $0.25 fee, lets users send money via emails and social networks. With just 40,000 users so far — and most of them in Des Moines — the location component is no small part of it.

"Most people don't have near-field communication on their smartphones, but they all have a GPS," Ben Milne, founder and CEO of Dwolla, told American Banker.

Earlier this month, PayPal announced the winning apps in its third Developer Challenge, notable for narrowing the challenge to just Android apps.

Offering first, second and third-place prizes of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively (Plus an Atrix 4G to each winner, courtesy of Motorola) PayPal — which is now owned by Ebay — challenged developers to build the "most innovative Android mobile apps" leveraging PayPal's Mobile Payments Library or Mobile Express Checkout. The results:

First place went to Mopper, an app that "brings a digital component to print media by giving media owners and advertisers the opportunity to reach customers on a whole new level through Print Commerce." Users just scan a QR tag on print media, press the Buy button, and wait for the printed item to show up on their doorstep.

Second place went to the ThruTu button, which enables users to make an over-the-phone instant payment without disrupting the call.

And finally, third place went to SiZiga, an app with aspirations of streamlining going Dutch. "SiZiga eliminates the need for customers to manually divide up the bill and for restaurants to swipe multiple cards," said PayPal. A QR code is generated for each party, diners can modify parameters—adjusting the tip, etc.—and then pay with PayPal by scanning the code with their phones.

Gartner expects mobile payments to rise 38% this year, to 141.1 million users, while Juniper sees NFC-based payments alone rising from $240 billion in transactions this year to $670 billion by 2015. (CP: NFC mobile payment growth happening sooner or later, depending whom you ask.)

The apps submitted to the contest, said PayPal's Naveed, "spoke to how the ever-evolving field of mobile payments will change the way we pay and get paid in the future."


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