FonWallet – Your Cell Phone, Your Wallet

Upon realizing he'd left his wallet at home while standing in a checkout line, Jeb Brilliant, online brand manager and cell phone industry blogger, sent this message via Twitter:

@jebbrilliant: Let me try that again. When can I start paying with my phone? I left my wallet at home but have my phone. // I hope soon!

Cell Phone? Wallet? FonWallet. Soon is closer than one might think. In a release this week, FonWallet Transaction Solutions, Inc. announced their readiness to move into production with the technology they developed to provide secure mobile commerce, or m-commerce, solutions.

According to the release, “Your cell phone is the new secure currency for credit and debit, as well as other payment methods."

FonWallet provides mobile transaction solutions for the card issuer, wireless carrier, and banking industries. During the company's development phase, it operated in stealth mode. With a two-year trial and beta testing phase behind them, which included 50 partners, the company is optimistic about acquiring production-phase partners to make FonWallet available to consumers.

Jeremy Hart, Blacksburg, Virginia Coldwell Banker Townside REALTOR and iPhone addict, said he's definitely ready to leave the credit cards at home and pay by cell phone. He even sent a Twitter update: “If someone's looking for testers, I'd love to be a part of that program.”

Credit card companies such as American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa already offer contactless payment systems that allow a customer to flash a card in front of a point-of-sale reader. Such systems have been in use by both Arby's and Jack-in-the-Box fast food chains since 2006.

FonWallet's idea is to unify various payment options by providing the secure interface between the merchant and the credit card or bank. This would eliminate the need to carry individual cards while at the same time beef up the security issues surrounding the transmission of personal financial information.

"The concept of mobile transactions has been around for some time, but fears concerning security and ease of use for both the consumer and merchant have been well-founded," said Mortensen. "FonWallet solves these concerns and makes mobile transactions the logical evolutionary step in how we pay for goods and services."

If Brilliant and Hart are any indication, interest in the U.S. is growing. However, according to a report on the CNN web site (Wallet of the future? Your mobile phone), the idea of using the cell phone as a payment device is more popular in Asia than in the U.S., with interest worldwide predicted to increase by 70 percent (73 million people) in 2009.

Mortensen isn't concerned. “Two years ago it would have been very unlikely to see a television commercial touting applications for the mobile phone,” he says. “Today these 'app commercials' are becoming as common as ads for cars. It won't be long before the idea of carrying a bunch of credit cards in a leather wallet will seem about as arcane as having a cord attached to your phone.”

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FonWallet Transaction Solutions, Inc., a client of Z. Kelly Queijo, provides m-based transaction solutions for the credit card, carrier and banking industries. Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS (R), a client of Handshake 2.0, is a full service real estate agency specializing in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Roanoke, and Salem, Virginia real estate and homes.

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