T. S. Eliot's most famous poem said that the world won't end with a bang, but with a whimper. As it turns out, the biggest question in mobile payments might be solved by a quiet technology, too.
Soundpays is a Toronto-based mobile payments startup, but instead of trying to perfect common solutions like NFC, Soundpays is betting on the use of sound waves to facilitate secure and frictionless mobile payments for retailers. In an interview with TechVibes, Colin Turnbull, head of marketing and public relations at Soundpays, explained how this technology reduces the burden on both consumers and merchants.
“The challenge for consumers is that their wallet becomes device dependent and may not work on their model of phone,” Turnbull said.
“The benefit of Soundpays is it works on all mobile devices and does not require merchant POS upgrades. All we require is a microphone/speaker and Internet connection," Turnbull added.
Turnbull emphasized how fragmented the current market of consumer electronic devices is, and Soundpays' approach to mobile payments could smooth over many of the gaps, creating a frictionless customer experience. While emerging technologies like NFC certainly hold potential, the consumer and merchant training required to acclimate to those mobile payments methods may be too large an obstacle for the average customer and retailer to surmount. However, if Soundpays can make its sound-based communication system work, the process could be simple enough for the least tech-savvy users to understand and implement.
In addition to bridging a fragmented mobile device ecosystem, Soundpays could also link devices that aren't traditionally thought of as connecting into this environment. Anything that emits sound waves, such as televisions, radios and YouTube videos could potentially communicate with a Soundpays-enabled smartphone.
While some retailers might be skeptical of processing transactions using something as seemingly old-fashioned as sound waves, embracing new solutions for mobile payments is crucial to long-term success in this ever-evolving field.
Soundpays is scheduled to release its app Oct. 15 for both Android and iOS.
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