Vancouver-based mobile payments platform nTrust has partnered up with New York City-based startup Estimote to make its iPhone application Canada’s first to enable contactless, proximity-based mobile payment solution.
Basically the two startups say they’re offering Canadians the first app that will let you pay for things in close proximity without actually touching a card reader or another phone. For those of us who like to keep our phones close to us at all times it represents a more comfortable, easier solution to the current offerings in the mobile payments craze that demand contact.
Estimote, which also has an office in Krakow, Poland, is a hardware and software platform that uses Bluetooth Smart technology to deliver context and micro-location data to smartphones. Specifically, Estimote Beacons use Bluetooth Smart technology to transmit data to smartphones within range, which will allow nTrust members the ability to locate merchants using the nTrust app. For iPhones only, the nTrust solution uses iBeacon technology to determine the iOS device’s proximity to the Estimote Beacons, located at the merchant.
The obvious limitations with Estimote’s solution is the amount of vendors they can convince to sign on and place the beacons in their stores.
Once a merchant is located, the nTrust App allows wireless purchases using a wifi or cellular Internet connection. The merchant account sends a request to the member for the amount owed and the member pays for the item from the funds in their nTrust account in real time. It eliminates the need for physical credit cards on the consumer’s end and card readers on the merchant side.
“In an age where instantaneity is key, we wanted to elevate consumer experience by creating a seamless shopping experience for our members,” said nTrust CXO Rod Hsu. “Using the Estimote-powered nTrust mobile app, members will be able to locate merchants, walk-up to them, and complete a transaction – all through a few clicks on their phone and within seconds.”
Merchants will also b able to push special offers to nearby members using the technology.
“We’ve set out to reshape the way the mobile and physical worlds interact,” said Estimote’s Tanuj Parikh. “Our platform allows nTrust to actively evolve the merchant-consumer transaction process – providing a streamlined system with immense value for both consumer and merchant.”