Orange, Barclaycard launch mobile payments in UK

Last Updated: Friday, May 20, 2011 - 09:28

Paris: Orange and Barclaycard will launch Britain`s first mobile payments service on Friday, which will allow shoppers to make small payments in stores using their cellphones.
The service will allow some Orange customers to make payments of up to 15 pounds ($24) by tapping their phone against a reader at 50,000 UK retail outlets including branches of fast-food chains McDonald`s (MCD.N), Subway and Pret a Manger.

Mobile payments are common in some developing countries where many people have no bank account, but have been slow to take off in regions like Europe where a multitude of payment options already exists.

The launch of the service in Britain will provide an opportunity for mobile carriers like Orange and banks like Barclays to attract and retain customers.

It will also provide a boost for NXP (NXPI.O), the leading maker of the chips that enable the contactless payments.

To use the service, customers will need to be holders of a Barclaycard, Barclays debit card or Orange credit card. They will also need a Samsung (005930.KS) Tocco Lite phone to start with, with more handsets from other manufacturers to follow.

Near field communications (NFC) technology has existed for almost a decade but few services have been launched as phone makers, banks and mobile operators have wrangled about who will have the main relationship with the customer.

However, a new version of Google`s (GOOG.O) popular Android smartphone software, which is used by dozens of phone makers, includes support for NFC and has pushed others into action.

"We tried to push it and frankly we just didn`t have the influence," NXP`s Chief Executive Richard Clemmer told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in Paris on Thursday.

"What we did by aligning with Google allowed us really to have a much larger impact."

A survey published by market research firm GfK this month found that eBay`s (EBAY.O) online payments service PayPal was most likely to be trusted by consumers. [ID:nLDE74B1ZF]

The service launching in Britain on Friday, called "Quick Tap", will let shoppers load up to 100 pounds onto their phone from their Orange or Barclays cards. The payments processing will be handled by Mastercard (MA.N).

Quick Tap payments will be done through the SIM card -- which is the property of the operators, in this case Orange -- and customers will have the option to set up a PIN number to be entered before each payment for extra security.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, May 20, 2011 - 09:28

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