Bank of America, Visa Prep Pay by Phone System in New York

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Here comes the digital wallet—to the New York area, at least. Reuters is reporting that Bank of America and Visa will be rolling out a pilot pay-by-phone program in the New York area next month that’ll run until year’s end.

The system will work with smartphones, but not quite as seamlessly as you’d think. Instead of installing a simple application, handsets will have to be outfitted with special RFID-based hardware chips. It’s likely these chips will be available in the same format that will fit in memory expansion slots or, in the case of the iPhone, perhaps integrated into a special protective case.

According to Reuters:

“The program will allow select New York-area employees and customers to install small chips, supplied by Visa and its technology vendors, in their smartphones that emit radio signals over very short distances.

Customers would then ‘bump’ their phones with point-of-sale devices in stores — actually they need only wave the phones near the devices — and their bank account data would be collected and their purchases completed.”

Visa is apparently planning a similar trial with US Bancorp that will begin in October, though details on that program are unknown. News of these trials comes shortly after rumors of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile being involved in talks to create their own joint pay-by-phone system that would cut Visa and Mastercard out of the equation altogether.

(More on Techland: Smartphones To Replace Credit/Debit Cards?)

Would you go to the lengths on installing a special chip in your phone in order to make mobile payments? Would you use mobile payments if all you had to do was install a software application on your phone? Or does the idea of using your phone to purchase items turn you off altogether?