Indian Software Startup Plans to Bring NFC to Low-end Phones

Software provider iKaaz Software has a plan to bring NFC to low-end phones. The Indian-based startup has come up with two products: a tag that will convert any phone into an NFC-enabled one and a reader that a merchant can plug into his or her mobile phone.

The NFC tag works like a SIM card, with the retailer linking the tag to the mobile phone number, while the merchant will plug the reader into a mobile phone with the iKaaz app.

“One reason why mobile wallets haven’t taken off is the very few number of NFC-enabled phones,” said Soma Sundaram, founder and CEO of iKaaz Software. “Only very high-end expensive phones are NFC-enabled. Also, about 80% of transactions are in cash. Even in the card segment, there are just 700,000 (electronic data capture, or cardswiping) machines among some 150,000 merchants in the country. On the other hand, the millions of merchants and consumers already have mobile phones.”

He added that the technology, which is in the pilot phase with banks and mobile operators, will not disrupt the existing digital wallet services of mobile phone operators.