Microsoft Sets Up Microsoft Payments: What We Know So Far


More evidence is pointing to Microsoft's plans of releasing its own mobile payments system for its highly anticipated Windows 10 operating system for all devices, the latest of which is a new company operating under the name Microsoft Payments, Inc.

Windows Central cites banking and payments consultant Faisal Khan, who claims that he saw documents pointing to the establishment of a new Microsoft company called Microsoft Payments. Khan says company documents reveal that Microsoft Payments is applying for a money transmitter license in each of the 50 states and has passed all requirements by Idaho, which has already granted the license to the company.

Reports cited by The Windows Club say that Microsoft has also registered with the U.S. Department of Treasury's Finance Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Documents apparently obtained from the regulatory body show Microsoft is not simply looking at a role as a "money transmitter" but will also have its own "prepaid card system." Microsoft Payments reportedly plans on selling prepaid access and pre-loading of cards that can be used as a debit card system.

While the latest reports are not exactly direct evidence that Microsoft is setting up a mobile payments system akin to the NFC-based Apple Pay and Google Wallet, it does show that Microsoft is at least interested in digital payments and that it is possible that the Redmond, Washington-based software maker could come up with its own mobile payments solution in the future.

In fact, Microsoft has already announced at the WinHEC 2015 hardware conference in China in March that the new Windows 10 for phones will have support for Host Card Emulation (HCE). HCE is a technology that will allow any Windows Phone device equipped with NFC to communicate with an NFC-supported point of sale terminal and transmit money securely even without the need for a special secure app like Softcard.

HCE will also work without a SIM card, so unlike Google Wallet, which initially got stalled because of the lack of support by mobile carriers who were working on Softcard, any mobile payments system from Microsoft will not depend on the Big Four to be successful. Plus, Microsoft says the technology is supported by Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

If the reports are true, Microsoft is late to the mobile payments party that was first introduced by Google via Google Wallet and let out into the mainstream market via Apple Pay. Earlier this year, Samsung announced it has purchased LoopPay, a company that specializes in mobile payments solutions that provides support both for NFC and the older magnetic strip cards. 

Photo: Robert Scoble | Flickr

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