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As part of the ongoing push toward new payment options made possible by emerging technologies, the world’s largest payment processor recently gave a well-known smartphone manufacturer the go-ahead to start creating a mobile payment platform.

Research in Motion, the Canadian company behind the popular BlackBerry line of smartphones, recently had its proposed mobile payments system approved by Visa, and the move could be a big step forward for the tech company, according to a report from eWeek. The program, known as Secure Element Manager (SEM) allows for mobile payments to be made with any mobile device enabled with near-field communication technology, not just BlackBerry devices.

“The approval from Visa of RIM’s SEM solution is an important step in that it will enable carriers to support Visa-issuing banks and financial institutions,” Frank Maduri, senior director of NFC services and trusted service manager product management at RIM, told the site. “We now offer carriers a robust solution with around-the-clock global support that works on any NFC-capable device and meets the stringent technology and usability guidelines for Visa.”

The announcement came just ahead of the presentation of RIM’s new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system and smartphones, which is set for Jan. 30, the report said. All four of the nation’s top cellphone service providers will carry the new devices, meaning that the rollout could be significant, but as yet there are no release dates for the new smartphones to hit the market. Those will likely be announced at the same event.

However, it should also be noted that adoption of mobile payment systems such as these hasn’t taken off as many predicted. Recent data suggest that by 2017, the annual value of the mobile payments industry would be as much as $110 billion, but that’s down from the original estimate of $180 billion.

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Among the major stumbling blocks for mobile payment adoption is that consumers are simply not yet convinced that the systems are as secure as they’d like. That and a lack of available handsets that come equipped with the necessary NFC technology have been significant impediments, despite the fact that many companies in a number of industries are now developing and testing their own mobile payment platforms as a means of helping to ease the transition into a new payment landscape.

Image: Robert_Elder, via Flickr

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