On Track Innovations (OTI), an Israeli payments platform and app maker, is up against the top dog in the mobile payments field — Google Wallet — with both apps vying to win the 2014 NACHA Payments Systems Award, at the Payments 2014 event in April. The event is sponsored by Pymnts.com, a news and intelligence site for the cashless payments industry.
Rosh Pina-based OTI has developed cashless mobile payment solutions for hundreds of customers, chiefly using two technologies — smart payment cards that are linked to a bank account, cellphone account, or other source of funds that allow users to transfer money electronically, as well as NFC (near-field communication) systems for phones that support it. With NFC, users can pay for items in retail settings simply by waving their phone at a sensor, with the payments transferred from the user’s cellphone account to the vendor.
OTI is no start-up; the company has been around since 1990, boasts over 100 patents in the cashless payment area, and has deployed its technology in 55 countries worldwide. Since January 1, OTI shares have been traded on the NASDAQ, and to celebrate, OTI CEO Ofer Tziperman was honored with the ringing of the NASDAQ Closing Bell on January 14.
Among the three competitors OTI is up against for the award, Google Wallet promises to pose the biggest challenge. Wallet, like any other service Google deploys, is a behemoth in the business, with Google Wallet accepted at over 300,000 locations in the US alone. Google regularly announces enhancements and upgrades to the service; last May, for example, Google announced that US users of Wallet will be able to send cash as an “attachment” in Gmail, expanding even further Wallet’s already ubiquitous presence.
Also competing for the award are payment platforms Bluesnap, Proper, and Earthport. For OTI and the others, just getting into the contest was an accomplishment; the five contenders were chosen from a pool of over 500, Pymnts.com said. The top app will be chosen by a panel of industry executives, the site said.