New focus on cellphone as wallet … again

felica phoneThe idea of using a cellphone as a digital wallet is nothing new; the Finns have been paying for soda by cell seemingly forever, and NTT DoCoMo has been pushing its phone-wallet platform for a couple of years now. What's new is that American companies (the usual laggards when it comes to doing anything interesting with cellphones), are finally jumping on the cell-wallet bandwagon. AP has a good summary of the state of the biz, and even though most of the real action continues to be outside of the U.S., American companies like Chicago's C-Sam are starting to make headway. However, with companies like MasterCard and American Express pushing for their own card-based wireless payment system, the cellphone may once more be left behind when it comes to use as a wallet. Good thing those phones are still good for making calls, snapping pictures, playing music and storing personal data.