It looks like the mobile payments arena is finally heating up. Apple Pay is popping up in retailers and restaurants across the country, Google snapped up Softcard and announced its own Android Pay, Samsung Pay is making waves by waiving transaction fees, and now Microsoft is sharing details on payment capabilities that will appear in the upcoming Windows 10 release for smatrphones.
The Windows payment feature (dubbed “Tap to Pay” in the materials spotted by Nokia Power User at the WinHec conference in China) is intriguing because it won’t require carrier support. Microsoft is putting Host Card Emulation (HCE) support into Windows 10, which means Windows 10 phones with NFC won’t need additional software or hardware to use Tap to Pay.
Microsoft appears to have made some real progress with prepping the feature: slides from WinHec suggest that Microsoft already has American Express, MasterCard and Visa on board. Microsoft released a video clip showing the new feature in action. I’m a chronic wallet dropper (yet, weirdly, I rarely drop my phone and have never cracked a screen), so I’m glad to see mobile payments catching on with mobile device OEMs, retailers, and consumers.