Windows joins Android and iOS on contactless payments bandwagon

Owners of Microsoft's Windows 10 mobile devices can now use Microsoft Wallet to make contactless payments in retail stores.

Microsoft has inked partnerships with Visa and MasterCard to introduce Tap to Pay in Windows 10 Mobile devices.

Microsoft's Lumia 950 and 950XL flagship phones may not have lured in too many buyers since they were launched, but that has not stopped the Redmond-based software giant from making its platforms as competitive as possible with periodic updates and new features. By introducing Tap To Pay in Microsoft Wallet in Windows 10 Mobile devices, Microsoft is now taking on Apple Pay and Android Pay in the ever-competitive contactless payments market.

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Starting today, owners of Microsoft's Lumia 950, 950 XL and 650 will be able to make contactless payments in over a million retail stores in the United States. They will also be able to store their reward points and Membership numbers inside Microsoft Wallet and will be able to scan them as and when required. Just like Apple Pay and Android Pay, Tap to Pay in Microsoft Wallet will take its own sweet time to launch in the UK, but the company has not made any announcements in this regard so far.

Going by existing rumours and official statements, it would be safe to assume that Tap to Pay will be available to Windows 10 Mobile users in the UK once Microsoft rolls out the Windows 10 Anniversary update later this year. The company is also reportedly working on launching a new Surface phone as a capable successor to the Lumia 950 and 950 XL phones and we wonder if the contactless payment feature will be optimised with the upcoming Surface phone. However, we have no official confirmation of this so you may want to take this with a pinch of salt.

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The Windows 10 Mobile platform has seen more downs than ups since it was launched late last year. After Windows 10 was launched, HERE used a workaround to make its app compatible with the new operating system which ends on June 30. From July 1, users of Windows 10 phone will no longer be able to access their beloved HERE maps app. Since a large number of Windows Phone owners bought Windows phones so that they could use HERE Maps, Microsoft has now lost a major USP behind selling Windows phones. The company has also dropped out of the list of world's top 12 companies in terms of global smartphone sales and chances of Microsoft reclaiming its spot look bleak.

While the company is looking at Xbox and HoloLens to drive its revenues, its recent partnerships with Visa and MasterCard signify that it is still places some trust on the Windows 10 Mobile platform to come good in the long term. It will be interesting to see if the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will bring in enough incentives for phone buyers to consider Windows 10 phones as potent as Android phones and iPhones.  

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