Microsoft recently expanded the capabilities of Windows 10 Mobile with a much awaited upgrade to its mobile payment app.
Users who are registered to the "Fast Ring" previews of the OS recently got the latest addition to the Microsoft Wallet app, which features NFC tap-to-pay support.
Rumors about the Wallet 2.0 permeated the media earlier this month, but the company just announced that Insiders can start using the app on a number of devices. Users who own a Lumia 650, Lumia 950, or Lumia 950 XL device and are part of the "Fast Ring" can test it out, with general support for U.S. clients expected to come later this summer, during the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
Microsoft's Windows Phones are catching up with their iOS and Android rivals. Apple released Apple Pay as early as 2014 and Android Pay from Google went live in September 2015. However, the fact that the NFC implementation from Microsoft rolled out a tad late comes with an advantage. The majority of retail terminals that allow shoppers to use the Tap to Pay capability should be Wallet 2.0-compatible.
Just keep in mind to save your card info, be it debit or credit, into the app and get ready to use Wallet 2.0 just as you would Android Pay or Apple Pay.
What is more, U.S.-based vendors that accept loyalty cards are a good place to use Wallet 2.0 in, as the app allows you to stack up on shopping discounts.
Microsoft touts that the service plays nice with both Visa and MasterCard plastic from eight major banks and credit unions. Over 1 million retail locations are expected to be Wallet 2.0-friendly as well.
The much anticipated NFC payment support lands at a time when Windows Phones themselves are losing traction. Gartner estimates that Windows Phone reached 0.7 percent of global smartphone market share during Q1 2016. It is the first time the company's handset has gone below the 1 percent mark.
Microsoft made clear that Windows Phone manufacturing is a very low priority in the company's agenda, although the Lumia brand accounts for 90 percent of Windows Phones altogether. It should be mentioned that Microsoft stayed sharp on the software side, porting Cortana and Word Flow keyboard to rival OSs.
Microsoft did not specify whether or not the rollout will go beyond the U.S. borders. Meanwhile, rival mobile payment service Apple Pay is "working rapidly" to push its services in the global market.