Slideshow 8 of Microsoft's Mobile Wallet Moves

Published
  • June 22 2016, 8:40am EDT
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Microsoft is in the process of rolling out a mobile wallet for its small share of the smartphone market. But the company has been steadily developing this technology across much bigger platforms.

Microsoft Wallet

The current version of Microsoft Wallet seems to imitate Apple Pay and Android Pay. But the company has hinted that its other platforms — including Xbox, Office and Windows — are connected to its plan for payments.

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NFC Beginnings

Microsoft first developed plans for Near Field Communication-based mobile payments with the 2012 launch of its Windows Phone 8 platform. In doing so, it beat Apple Pay to market by about two years.

Going National

Microsoft began applying for money transmitter licenses in all 50 U.S. states back in February of 2015. The move was seen as possible groundwork for a Windows 10 payment platform.

Built on Biometrics

Windows 10 has a built-in system for facial and fingerprint recognition. Called Windows Hello, the technology is seen as a building block for Microsoft's broader ambitions in payments.

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Playing for Keeps

Though Microsoft's share of the U.S. smartphone market is a mere 1.6%, it's one of the biggest names in home video gaming, with 48 million users signed up for its Xbox Live service. These users already have a taste of what it's like to work with mobile payments, since many of them buy Xbox cash on prepaid cards and scan them with the device's attached camera.

All in the Wrist

Microsoft is eager to build payments into its newer platforms. The Microsoft Band, a combination of a smartwatch and fitness tracker, even comes with a built-in Starbucks app and gift card to encourage users to think of it as a mobile wallet.

Going Digital

Microsoft is also open to working with unconventional currencies, as evidenced by its acceptance of Bitcoin on its Xbox platform through a 2014 partnership with BitPay.

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Merging Channels

Microsoft is blurring the lines between its hardware products. For example, many of the games playable on its Xbox consoles are also playable on Windows computers, but are sold separately for each system. Its newly announced Play Anywhere program lets customers buy once and play on any Microsoft device, thus making Microsoft's user base — and their wallets — cross-platform.