This is one of those things that seems to line up so nicely that it'd be almost silly for it not to happen. Microsoft's latest Insider version of the Wallet app for Windows 10 Mobile brings with it tap-to-pay support for making NFC payments with your phone and an attached credit card. Or it does in certain locations, at least. But that's always how these things roll out.
But while all this is very exciting, it set the cogs in my head turning. As good as a feature like this is on a phone, it'd be even better on the next Microsoft Band. It would, right?
Microsoft wouldn't be the first to do this. The Apple Watch already offers wrist based payments (Android Wear does not) and gives us a decent example to go off. You load your cards via the Wallet app on the iPhone and they sync to your Apple Watch. But you can't just strap on the watch and walk around paying — you have to be wearing it and unlock your phone at least once via Touch ID to authenticate the watch. After that, just double click the Watch's button to activate Apple Pay and hold it to the scanner. If you take off the watch, it locks Apple Pay access until you again unlock your paired iPhone. Your payment data is kept securely on both the iPhone and Apple Watch thanks to a "secure element" that's part of the processor.
It'd be no more difficult for Microsoft to implement a similar system using Windows Hello. The information is stored securely on the phone and the wearable acts as a conduit to pass the information to the NFC reader — or go the Apple route and store the data right on the wearable. If the connection is broken in any way or the device is removed, payments are halted.
There's also a bunch of information already out there on how Microsoft is going to leverage Windows 10 and the Companion Device Framework (CDF). While not specifically detailing payment systems, there are plenty of hints at how it could apply to the Band and mobile payments:
Wear a fitness band that has already authenticated the wearer. Upon approaching PC, and by performing a special gesture (like clapping), the PC unlocks.
Specifically talking about applications in relation to PCs doesn't exclude Mobile. Windows 10 is now one platform, remember, and it's clear that Microsoft has already been heading in the right direction to make this happen.
On the hardware side of things, there wouldn't need to be anything more than an NFC reader and its associated items. If we're already enabled on our phones, though, I can't see any sensible reason why the Microsoft Band 3 wouldn't have the necessary capability to be used in this way. And for most of us it'd be even more convenient than pulling a phone out of our pockets.
So, I really want this to happen. But what about you? Let us know in the comments below!
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