By Chuong Nguyen | August 26, 2010 2:13 AM
Like Bank of America and other carriers, manufacturers, and other mobile payment partners and advocates before it, Bling Nation–makers of the Bling Tag–is hoping to roll out its own mobile payment system where customers and smartphone users can pay for purchases at select participating merchant locations using their smartphones rather than a credit card.
The concept is simple. Bling Nation makes a sticker called the Bling Tag that contains a near field communications (NFC) chip embedded within the sticker. Stick the Bling Tag on a phone, or any device really, and when you reach the cashier at check out with a Bling Tag terminal, just tag your phone and your payment will be made. The system does require you to have a phone–any phone, though a smartphone will do–that has texting capabilities. Upon first use, you’ll be asked for your phone number and a simple text with a verification code will be sent to confirm your phone.
Bling Nation offers first-time users a $20 credit for setting up the account. Your Bling Tag account will be tied to a credit card, promising that it will be compatible with most major credit/debit card accounts, like a Visa or MasterCard, and if you add a PayPal account you’ll get another $20 credit to get you going. Because the system relies on the NFC chip inside the sticker, Bling Tag is also platform agnostic, meaning you can stick your Android, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, webOS, Symbian, iOS, or any phone you have laying around. Heck, you can even tag your wallet, though at that point you might as well reach for the plastic and make the physical swipe.
Right now, the service is easy enough. You’re only asked for the verification code once during first use, and the only downside is that there are few Bling merchants who will accent Bling Tag as a payment method. According to IntoMobile, which took the Bling Tag system out for a test drive, the system really can’t get much easier than this though as you can use any phone and any credit card. All you’ll have to do is find a store that will accept your hard earned bling.