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Visa In2Pay: payments on-the-go, using your smartphone

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The effort to turn your mobile phone into your new digital wallet is picking up steam. Visa has announced a way to pay for goods by waving your iPhone.

The effort to turn your mobile phone into your new digital wallet is picking up steam.

Exactly one week after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey introduced Square, Visa and DeviceFidelity announced the availability of In2Pay, a smart case with removable microSD technology for the Apple iPhone that allows you to make contactless transactions by waving your phone in front of a terminal.

Contactless transactions aren't new -- a few of my credit cards have chips in them that allow me to pay without swiping, and several gasoline vendors have rolled out keyrings with embedded RFID chips that allow payment at the pump -- but making your smartphone the trigger is new.

Here's some background information from the announcement:

The In2Pay solution gives iPhone users the ability to add greater convenience, flexibility and functionality. The In2Pay solution is designed to stay attached to iPhone and provides a micro USB slot for users to sync and charge their devices. DeviceFidelity's In2Pay microSD provides secure, convenient one-click access to contactless transactions. Compatible with smart card industry standards, the microSD can be issued and personalized like traditional smart cards or in the future through a secure download of the account information via a mobile network.

Visa, whose contactless service is called "payWave," says trials are scheduled to start during the second quarter of 2010.

The announcement is a big deal, for several reasons. Visa is by far the most popular payment technology company, and the Apple iPhone is the most popular Internet-enabled smartphone on the market, allowing for millions of potential customers.

Further, the technology leverages the existing infrastructure of contactless terminals.

Finally, the service -- while limited to the iPhone for now -- demonstrates the move toward turning your smartphone into a mobile commerce portal on your hip.

Here's a look in a promotional video:

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure