Microsoft has its eye on payments but no products to announce yet

The establishment of Microsoft Payments Inc by Microsoft in the US suggests mobile payments could be a future feature of Microsoft operating systems

Mobile payments could be a future feature of Microsoft operating systems following the establishment of Microsoft Payments Inc by Microsoft in the US and its application for money transmitter licences in 50 US states.

IT companies are increasingly bundling payments systems with their products. Recent examples include Apple with Apple Pay, Samsung with its LoopPay acquisition and Google’s plan for an Android Pay application programming interface (API).

A Microsoft spokesperson told Computer Weekly: “Microsoft continues to evolve to meet the needs of our customers. We continually investigate how we can offer a variety of flexible payment solutions. We do not have products to announce.”

Celent analyst Gareth Lodge said Microsoft is just getting a "ticket to the game" by taking out money transmitter licences in the majority of US states.

"We shouldn’t forget that Microsoft already handle payments – Xbox content, for example,” he said.

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“The anticipated move makes sense – if other main platforms have their own payments platforms, such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, then Microsoft probably can’t afford not to," he added.

“But what could be transformative is that if it’s built into Windows 10 for mobiles, it’ll be available on tablets and laptops as well. Given the move to e-commerce, being baked in at the most fundamental level should give Microsoft some very interesting opportunities.”

In the US, the Apple Pay mobile wallet was responsible for 1% of digital payments in the US in November 2014, just a month after its launch, according to the ITG mobile payments report.

Samsung recently acquired mobile payments startup LoopPay in a challenge to Apple’s fledgling mobile payments business.

Google is expected to launch payments API Android Pay at its I/O conference in May 2015.

The release of Windows 10 could be the opportunity for a Microsoft payment system to hit the market.

Reports claim Microsoft, through Microsoft Payments Inc, has applied for money transmitting licenses and has already been granted at least one.

They also claim that Microsoft is not simply looking at a role as a money transmitter but will also have its own prepaid card system.

“When a global behemoth jumps into a product, the regional and national providers will have to think quickly about their future,” said one banking industry source.

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