Home / Credit News / New iPhone case aims to be digital wallet stand-in

While the iPhone doesn't currently have the capability to become a "mobile wallet" due to a lack of built-in near-field communications equipment, a tech company is trying to develop a way around that.

The new Geode case for iPhone from startup iCache is designed to serve as a kind of stand-in for the NFC technology the popular device currently lacks, according to a report from Tech Crunch. It does so not by being embedded with the NFC gear itself, but rather by circumventing the need for it rather ingeniously.

When they first get the case and connect it to their phone, users are asked to download an application and enter their credit or debit card payment data into the app, as well as data on any store loyalty rewards accounts they may have, the report said. Then, when they go to make a purchase, they can open the app and select both the loyalty and card accounts they want to use.

The information for the store account is displayed as a barcode on a small screen on the back of the case itself, and the payment data is put onto a rewritable card that slides out of the case itself, the report said. The card is blank by default, and further adds security by having a built-in finger print scanner so the user can confirm quickly and easily that it's them making the purchase.

One of the biggest early hurdles NFC mobile wallets may face is that there simply aren't a large enough number of phones yet on the market that can handle this type of transaction, but it is expected that this will change within the next generation or two of devices.