Paying With Your Digital Wallet? Don’t Forget to Charge Your Device

Near-field-communication technology, or NFC, may allow consumers to someday leave their wallets at home and instead use their mobile devices as digital wallets, where credit cards, gift cards, coupons and bus passes are stored.

But what happens if you forget to charge it?

“At least now, if I don’t charge my phone, I can still go home,” Vittorio Colao, chief executive officer of Vodafone Group Plc, told reporters in Barcelona today at the Mobile World Congress, where attendees were encouraged to use their NFC devices to get into seminars and pay for snacks.

Battery life isn’t the only challenge. The technology has been constrained as carriers, handset makers, retailers, credit card companies and banks try to come to an agreement on the best platform to market the technology.

On that front, Visa Inc., the world’s largest electronic payments network, said today it has teamed up with handset maker Samsung Electronics Co. to provide a financial program to enable handsets to be used like a credit or debit card. Visa’s PayWave application will be a standard feature on Samsung’s NFC-equipped devices.

“The Visa-Samsung global alliance is a first of its kind between a leading NFC handset manufacturer and payment network that is paving the way for the implementation of large-scale mobile payment programs,” the companies said in a statement.

No doubt, features and applications will help pave the way for broad adoption of the digital wallet. But if the charging issue isn’t resolved, users of the technology may find themselves stranded at the wrong end of their subway line or without money to pay for lunch.

Until that’s addressed, consumers may want to carry around both wallets for now.

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