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ING Direct Makes Mobile P2P Payments As Easy As Bumping Knuckles

U.S.-based online-only subsidiary of ING Group becomes the first bank to incorporate Bump Technologies' API into its mobile app to enable payments.

The the "fo' knocks," "bro-fist," "power five" or the "knuckle bump." Or, simply, the fist bump.

For some it's the latest craze in person-to-person payments.

ING Direct USA, the online banking subsidiary of Netherlands-based ING Group, has incorporated a form of contactless P2P payments made possible by Bump Technologies into its mobile app, giving customers with iPhones the ability to pay by proximity. As tech and social media blog Mashable reports, it's the first time a bank has used the technology to enable payments.

Not quite NFC, Bump's API enables data sharing by proximity. As the company's FAQ describes:

There are two parts to Bump: the app running on your device and a smart matching algorithm running on our servers in the cloud. The app on your phone uses the phone's sensors to literally "feel" the bump, and it sends that info up to the cloud. The matching algorithm listens to the bumps from phones around the world and pairs up phones that felt the same bump. Then we just route information between the two phones in each pair.

PayPal uses the same technology in its Android and iOS app, as does P2P payments startup Dwolla.

Though the promise of NFC-enabled mobile wallets is still enticing, the reality appears to be that it won't be happening any time soon, as various mobile carriers, payments networks and startups race to build an NFC model on their own. In the meantime, ING Direct's incorporation of Bump payments into its mobile app extends the usability of mobile banking to a point where it might become more valuable for a consumer to use it. There's only so much ATM locating and balance checking a person can do.

ING Direct is currently up for sale.

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