5 Signs Microsoft Will Launch Payments Service (April 14, 2015)
More signs point to the fact that Microsoft is preparing to brand its own payments service, but the tech giant’s approach could be much different than that of mobile wallet rivals Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Inc.’s Android Pay, some observers suggest. Here’s what we know:
- Money Transmitter Licenses: Microsoft in March received a money transmitter license in Idaho for a new entity called Microsoft Payments Inc., and the company is seeking similar licenses in all 48 states that require them, according to Faisal Khan, a payments analyst, whose sleuthing uncovered the Idaho license last month.
- Registered with FinCEN as a Money Services Business: Khan also recently discovered the Redmond, Wash.-based company’s recent MSB registration with FinCEN.
- Windows 10 will support HCE: Windows 10 for mobile devices, due out later this year, will support host card emulation (HCE) for payments. Microsoft demonstrated its new “Tap to pay” service for mobile POS payments, showcased in a video last month during the WinHec tech conference in Shenzhen, China.
- Biometrics on board: The tech company in March announced in a blog it’s planning with Windows 10 to introduce a biometrics-based approach to authenticating users of its mobile devices via their face, iris or fingerprint.
- Pay via Skype? Microsoft also could harness its Skype messaging technology for payments, expanding usage—and geographic reach—beyond specific mobile devices, Khan speculates. Microsoft has been tight-lipped about any specific plans for a payments service. But observers note the pressure to act is mounting. Facebook recently launched P2P via its Messenger app, and China’s Tencent payments service enables P2P via its WeChat messaging service, Khan notes. “Skype would be the most natural choice for Microsoft to start exchanging money,” Khan tells Paybefore. Though Skype so far has been deployed for voice calling, Microsoft could possibly make changes to optimize the app for messaging and payments, he suggests. Last week, Western Union announced a deal to enable Skype customers to replenish their accounts at Western Union locations.
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