We'd previously noticed that Cingular was collaborating
with Citigroup on some sort of mobile payment system in New York City, though details were pretty slim for the picking at the time; now the carrier has come out with full disclosure on exactly what it is they have up their sleeves. Like its Atlanta trial
last year, the New York program involves Nokia handsets fitted with NFC (near-field communication) guts -- though for the sake of the trial participants, we hope Cingular is offering something a little more up-to-date than the lowly 3220
this time around. Unlike Atlanta, however, Cingular has switched up their financial partner from Chase / Visa to Citi / Mastercard, giving users the ability to use their phone for payment anywhere Mastercard's PayPass system
is accepted. Parties involved expect the trial to last a total of three to six months, at which point we should all have a better perspective on how folks feel about shedding cash by tapping their cellphones against various surfaces. Of course, Japan seems to like it just fine
-- so why not us?