Next month Vodafone will launch its own mobile wallet service in the UK using an NFC embedded SIM, allowing customers to swipe their phones for payments at contactless tills. A similar service has already been launched in Italy, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
The service will enter the market after Apple announces its iPhone 6, which is rumoured to have the capacity to facilitate mobile payments. But Vodafone’s mobile application will only be available on Android smartphones, and Apple’s announcement could encourage users of other networks to adopt mobile payments on the devices they already own.
Vodafone is already working with third-party loyalty card companies like Nectar. The service will be used to pay for travel on the London Underground. The Vodafone wallet will also allow person-to-person payments between customers, and will open up to banks at a later date.
Vodafone customers will need to replace existing SIMs for NFC-enabled versions and have a compatible handset. Customers will have a level of security through their ownership of the SIM card, where the customer’s personal information and card details can be stored securely.
Mark Ritzmann, head of m-commerce, said usage would be restricted to payments below £25 for regulatory reasons, although he added that the company hoped to introduce a PIN-protected way to make larger payments in time. “It will start to replace the leather wallet,” he told the Financial Times.
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