Microsoft - Thomas Hawk

Microsoft’s Mobile Payment Service Gains New Ground With New Reports

April 2, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay… and Microsoft Pay?

While that may not be the final name, there are new reports suggesting that Microsoft’s route to a mobile payment service may be clearing up with the founding of a new company in the United States, contact with some state regulatory bodies, and a slate of new possibilities as a result.

The reports suggest that Microsoft has established a new company called Microsoft Payments Inc., which in turn got a license from the State of Idaho Department of Finance to serve as a venue for handling and transferring money.

The documents surrounding the founding suggest that the company was actually founded in Nevada before filing for its license in Idaho, and if the forms are correct, the company was actually founded back in 2011.

Reports also suggest that Microsoft has filed for similar licenses in the remaining states in the U.S., thus opening up the field for a complete 50-state approach.

Additionally, further forms found suggest that Microsoft also registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) sector of the United States’ Department of the Treasury, giving it further weight in the field.

The FinCEN report suggests that Microsoft’s service won’t simply be a money transmitter, but rather it will also provide and sell prepaid access, suggesting a prepaid card system that can be pre-loaded and used like a debit card online or at various brick-and-mortar outlets.

Naturally, this is still very early-stage stuff. This is at the point where it’s trying to get regulator approval, so it’s not likely that a payment system will show up even in beta for a good while to come. But it also suggests that Microsoft isn’t going to be sitting idle while the mobile payment revolution carries on around it.

Microsoft already found itself on the hind end of the mobile device revolution, trying to wrest entrenched users out of the iOS and Android camps. But mobile payments are a market still just getting started, and Microsoft looks like it’s getting into focus.

Microsoft’s payment aspirations aren’t exactly new; not so long ago we heard about how Windows 10 was looking to bring in support for host card emulation (HCE) systems, a valuable component of the mobile payment experience that can provide a more secure mobile payment environment.

It’s also not likely that Microsoft would go so far as to get regulatory approval for a service that it’s not going to bring out for a long time to come, so the fact that it’s in the market for approval at all suggests that it’s getting ready to go.

It would be easy to say that Microsoft is making a bad move, walking into a glutted market, but the market hasn’t been glutted for long; indeed, it hasn’t even been around that much longer than it’s been glutted, so for a company with the kind of resources Microsoft has might well have the necessary force to pull interest and make itself a dominant player.

Only time will tell what Microsoft’s plans look like here, and just how those plans will be executed. But Microsoft may have the name recognition and the market clout to make its presence known even in a field with lots of choices at the consumer level.