In other mobile wallet developments in the U.S., the Isis joint venture of AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA kicked off in October 2012 in Salt Lake City and Austin using nine-NFC ready smartphones to make purchases at NFC-ready terminals.
The activity around NFC and mobile wallet intensified in August, when more than a dozen major retailers including Best Buy, Walmart and Target formed the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a mobile payments network.
MCX still hasn't said which payment technologies it is using, although the group is expected to have a major impact on mobile wallet growth given the size and influence of the retailers involved.
Other alternatives to NFC, such as barcodes and optical scanners that are used with the iPhone, have also emerged.
Square and, more recently, Bank of America's Mobile Pay on Demand service allow small retailers to use credit card readers attached to smartphones, which rely on apps to transmit the credit card data and receive an authorization. Customers make a digital signature on the display of the smartphone.
The widespread use of credit cards and even paper checks in the U.S. to make payments has put a damper on consumer interest in NFC in smartphones, analysts believe. Surveys also show a large group of Americans still don't trust the security of a smartphone when used to make payments.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about mobile payments in Computerworld's Mobile Payments Topic Center.