Today, Microsoft released a big update to its mobile wallet app with NFC tap-to-pay features. That puts Microsoft Wallet on par with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. Like those other digital wallets, Microsoft's only works on the company's own software. You'll also need a Lumia 650, Lumia 950, or Lumia 950 XL device — those are the new Windows 10 Mobile ones — to use the tap-to-pay feature.
Windows 10 Mobile testers get to try it out starting today in the US. The service supports MasterCard and Visa from eight major banks and credit unions, and it works at more than 1 million retail locations, according to Microsoft. General availability for US users is expected this summer. No word yet on international availability.
While this launch isn't a game-changer by any means, it does seem to indicate Microsoft's commitment to Windows Phone despite abysmal market share figures. According to analyst firm Gartner's most recent estimates, Windows Phone captured only 0.7 percent of global smartphone market share last quarter, falling below the 1 percent mark for the first time. Microsoft controls more than 95 percent of all Windows Phone sales with the Lumia line, so it's basically up to the company to decide if and when to declare the mobile OS officially dead.
For now, the platform has been put on ice, and Microsoft said as much at its Build developer conference in March. "We're fully committed to that 4-inch screen, there will be a time for it to be our focus, but right now it's part of the family but it's not the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year," Windows chief Terry Myerson said. "There's no lack of recognition to realize how important that form factor is, but for Microsoft with Windows and for our platform it's the wrong place for us to lead."
For those remaining Lumia fans, however, you now have a contactless payments option of your own.