The company “is also negotiating with handset manufacturers to incorporate the technology directly into their devices,” Forbes continues, adding that CEO Wences Casares “expects Bling-enabled cellphones to be released in the US in 2011.”
Bling Nation currently issues users with contactless stickers, known as Bling Tags, which they attach to the back of their mobile phones. It has been running a trial in Palo Alto since July, in conjunction with PayPal. In September, Facebook began distributing BlingTag stickers to its staff so that they could also take part in the trial.
Bling Nation’s technology is specifically designed to reduce costs by cutting out middlemen, such as acquirers, processors and brands such as Visa and MasterCard. The technology is also designed to be near field communication ready, meaning that it will work with NFC phones as soon as they become widely available. The company has signed up a number of local banks in the US who have reported considerable take up of the service amongst both consumers and merchants.
Last month Bling Nation added FanConnect, a new platform that enables merchants to offer mobile rewards and connect with customers via social networking services at the checkout. “Bling Nation now defines its mission as helping online companies like Foursquare, Yelp and Citysearch ‘close the loop’ by connecting with their users in an offline, real-world way,” Forbes adds.