Salt Lake City goes NFC next year

Posted by Mark Raby

By early 2012, you'll be able to pay for a train or bus ride with your phone in Salt Lake City.

The metro area will be the first city to receive NFC mobile payment solutions powered by Isis. Isis is the company designed to implement contactless mobile phone payments around the country as a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

The entire UTA transit system will be Isis-enabled, and there are plans to expand the technology throughout the city, including public establishments like stores and fast food restaurants.

"By working with the Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake Chamber and Salt Lake City-area merchants, Isis is bringing the mobile commerce vision to reality. Salt Lake City consumers will experience a new way to shop, pay and save," said Isis CEO Michael Abbott.

This is the first step in what will, by most accounts, be a complete evolution in point-of-sale transactions. By the end of 2012, it's expected that every major carrier will have NFC-enabled phones.

The technology to accept these payments is already in place and, in major markets like New York City, it's already implemented for contactless credit cards (credit cards with a special chip that allows customers to wave the card over a credit card terminal instead of swipe it). When mobile phones with built-in NFC chips become commonplace, customers will be able to start paying for chips, McDonald's, and cab fare without ever opening their wallets.

This is only the beginning.