Analysis: Microsoft Considers NFC Wallet App a Must-Have for Flagging Smartphone Business

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Microsoft, which has written off more than $8 billion from its failed Nokia acquisition and which is expected to fully pull the plug on its consumer smartphone hardware business, nonetheless believes a viable wallet app is a must-have to keep its Windows 10 operating system for phones viable–although its announcement this week of Microsoft Wallet is surrounded by unknowns, including exactly when the service will generally launch.

Microsoft Wallet for Windows 10 phones probably will launch sometime this summer and is available now to users who have joined the Windows Insider Program and who own a Lumia 950, 950 XL or 650 smartphone. Such U.S. payments players as networks Visa and MasterCard, and a small list of financial institutionsincluding Bank of America–which are backing all of the major aggregator mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, say they will also support Microsoft Wallet. 

With Windows 10, Microsoft added support for host card emulation, or HCE, for NFC-based payments, as NFC Times reported last year that it planned to do. Microsoft had earlier supported SIM-based NFC payments and tap-to-pay NFC functionality in its Windows Phone 8 operating system.

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