O2 to introduce NFC payment system

We heard both Orange and T-Mobile had a system lined up for later this year, but now it seems O2 is getting in on the NFC act, offering contactless payments later this year.

According to TechRadar, O2 has unveiled a 'mobile wallet service' using NFC technology, which is set to be in use for the second half of 2011. Trials have taken place using a Nokia smartphone, but other handsets are likely ot be the headline acts when it does launch, including the currently-available Google Nexus S and the forthcoming Apple iPhone 5, which is said to have NFC capabilities built-in.

O2 says that it will apply for an e-money operating licence from the FSA, which will allow the network to offer money transfers between customers, as well as contactless payments at 60,000 venues around the UK. An e-money operating licence will allow uses to 'bank' money with the network, which can then be spent or transferred using the NFC chip. Not unlike a pre-pay credit card we suspect.

The aim is to iron out any problems this year, with the service operating at full tilt in time for the 2012 Olympics in London. By then, we expect pretty much all mid to high-end mobiles to be packing an NFC chip, with your wallet or purse being consigned to the back of a drawer.

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