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Mobile wallet launches in the UK today

Tap and go

Today sees the UK launch of contactless payment for mobile handsets, also known as the mobile wallet.

Consumers will be able to add up to £100 to their mobile, and then use their handset to make payments of up to £15. The system, known as Quick Tap, is the result of collaboration between Orange and Barclaycard, who began introducing contactless pay points and cards in 2007. Orange vice president Pippa Dunn said: “Making contactless payments with your mobile is a natural and really exciting innovation which we’re pleased to be leading on in the UK.”

Quick Tap works using Near Field Communication (NFC), wireless technology that has already been used to great effect in Oyster cards and over 12 million credit cards. However, existing mobile phones do not include NFC as standard, and the only handset currently compatible is a new edition of the Samsung Tocco Lite, which also launches today.

Not everybody going mobile?

As well as an enabled handset, consumers will need either a Barclays or Orange credit or debit card account. Of course, contactless payment is also only possible in participating shops – so far, around 50,000. These include branches of Boots, McDonalds, EAT, Subway, Little Chef, and the National Trust. This summer, NFC payments will be introduced to the M6 toll motorway.

One factor that may accelerate uptake is Google’s involvement. According to Reuters, NFC technology will be incorporated in the next version of Android – in Q4 2010, the OS with the highest smartphone market share.

Written by Rachel Hand

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