Microsoft Payments Inc., a subsidiary of American computer giant Microsoft Corporation, made headlines this week when it filed for money transmitter licenses in all 50 states of America, suggesting that the multinational is one step closer to launching its very own mobile payments platform and rival existing services such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or even the yet-to-be launched Samsung Pay.
But according to a SEC filing dated April 15, 2012, the freshly surfaced news of Microsoft setting sight on the mobile payment industry has been undergoing for almost 3 years now.
While Microsoft won't say exactly what its subsidiary has been working on, a few hints were given last month, during the company's WinHEC 2015 conference, where Microsoft announced that its forthcoming Windows 10 for phones and tablets will support Host Card Emulation (HCE) for NFC payments through a "Tap to Pair" feature.
HCE, a method of transmitting credit card information without relying on a Secure Element embedded in a SIM card, will allow any smartphones with Windows 10 and NFC hardware to transmit payments to equipped terminals.
A few job postings from Microsoft shows that the firm is looking to set up a team at the company's headquarter in Redmond, Washington, dedicated to Microsoft Payments.
Notably, the company is looking for a software engineer to "join the team that builds the platform for NFC payments, across all Microsoft devices."
"Ever wanted to ditch your wallet, and tap+pay with your phone instead? We are building on the momentum we’ve created with new NFC payment capabilities shipped in Windows Phone 8.1," further reads the job description.
Another posting indicates that Microsoft is seeking a finance director:
"Microsoft Payments is looking for an experienced Finance Director to join a seasoned leadership team and assume full responsibility for accounting and finance related activities related to processing of payments with Microsoft Payments, Inc."
Meanwhile, a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica, that it was still too early to herald Microsoft Payments, stating:
"As a mobile-first, cloud-first company, Microsoft continues to evolve our offerings to meet the needs of both our commercial customers and consumers. Becoming a money service business gives us the flexibility to provide new, innovative cloud services to our customers but we do not have any product announcements at this time."
The news that Microsoft has seriously stepped into the mobile payment battle comes with little surprise, considering that other major tech companies have already started to launch their own mobile payment platforms and apps. Notably, Facebook launched in late March, a new P2P payments feature for Facebook Messenger, while stating that it was not "building a payments business."
Others, including Samsung, have made strategic acquisitions in order to be a step ahead of competitors.
In late-February, electronics giant Samsung announced it had agreed to acquire Apple Pay rival LoopPay, a wallet solutions provider and payment service, in which the firm was already an investor prior to the acquisition.
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