Microsoft is getting closer to having its own competitor to Apple Pay.
Last month, it showed off a “tap to pay” feature baked into Windows 10 phones during a conference for Windows hardware makers in China, the WinHEC conference.
With a bit of sleuthing, banking consultant Faisal Khan, found evidence that Microsoft has already received approval from one state to fire up a payments transfer service: Idaho. But it’s applied for licenses for transmitting money in all 50 states.
We can probably safely assume that Microsoft’s payment aspirations don’t begin and end with retail stores in Boise, and that the service will be available throughout the US and elsewhere.
We reached out to Microsoft and asked for comment on this new service and will update when we hear back.
Here’s the video it showed (which is in Chinese, but you’ll get the idea):
During that conference, it also showed off a slide that told a little bit more about the service, posted by BGR.
The slide said that Microsoft’s Tap to Pay will use technology that won’t require the carriers to do get involved and add support for it. In geek speak, it will use Host Card Emulation that won’t require a Secure Element on a SIM card. It will also use NFC, the same wireless tech used by iPhone and Android.
The fact that Windows Phone devices will have their own payments mechanism shouldn’t be surprising. Some Lumia phones could be used for mobile payments until just a few days ago through an app from a company called Softcard, a joint venture from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. But Google bought Softcard in February and recently revoked the app that served Windows phones.
In January, Microsoft also partnered with PayPal to start supporting PayPal Here hardware.
And all of this was foretold last fall when Apple launched its Apple Pay service. Bill Gates said at that time he thought Apple Pay was a “fantastic idea” and that all smartphones would one day do the same.