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HP turns iPhone into global wallet Featured

Hewlett Packard is readying an application which will allow smartphone users to load pre-paid currencies into their phones, and use them as multi-currency digital wallets when travelling internationally.

According to Daniel Biondi, Chief Technology Officer, Financial Services, Enterprise Services, HP has already developed technology to allow multiple currencies to be pre-loaded onto a debit card, with a pilot currently underway in Australia. It launched a standard single currency pre-paid card a year ago.

Mr Biondi said that 1 million pre-paid cards had already been released with growth of 20 per cent a year, as the payments alternative was providing popular for students, government and corporate employees, and welfare recipients

The smartphone based alternative – which will turn an iPhone into a multi- currency digital wallet - would likely be available later this year he said.

HP will initially release an iPhone version of the application with an Android alternative currently in development. He added that near field communications capability was also on the company’s roadmap for the coming 12-18 months.

He was optimistic about the demand for such a product.

“From my perspective travellers’ cheques and overseas currencies will disappear over the next five years and be replaced by the mobile,” said Mr Biondi.

However he predicted that some older consumers would still prefer to use a pre-paid debit card rather than their mobile phone.

At present the application is capable of loading nine different currencies onto a card, and eventually a smartphone, with plans to increase this to 12 early in 2013. “But technically it could support up to 99 currencies,” said Mr Biondi.

The smartphone system has been developed to allow users to switch between currencies on the fly, and also convert any leftover currency from one country into another currency as they travel the globe.

HP has established a firm footprint in the financial sector providing technology and business process outsourcing services for credit card processing, mortgage processing and wealth management services. The utility model for delivering services is increasingly popular with the banks according to Mr Biondi.

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