Residents of the UK will finally have access to mobile phone wallets as long as they have Orange and Barclaycard accounts.The Japanese as usual were the first to have them operational, then the Americans followed suit and now the UK is getting on board. The industry has been slow to get the pay by mobile phone technology of the ground and into wide use. The slow trickle down of pay by mobile phone has reached the UK and users will now be able to pay for items in shops using their mobile phones.
T o begin only a few shops such as McDonalds, EAT, Pret-a-Manger, Subway, Little Chef, Wilkinson, National Trust and Boots have signed up for the new payment system. The system is being named ‘Quick Tap’ as it requires the user to tap the phone through a device to make the payment. Initially it is the phone network Orange and the bank Barclays that have teamed up to make quick tap possible. Users also need to have a handset that is set up for contactless payments; contactless payment refers to the use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip that can be waved over the corresponding antenna to make secure payments.
The company behind the scene making quick tap possible is Near Field Communication (NFC). Without NFC most of the short-range wireless payment systems Brits use today would not exist. To use the new payment system one will also need an NFC-enabled Samsung Tocco Lite handset which is available from Friday. To start with a limit of £15 will apply for all purchases unless the user preloads the phone with £100. Eventually the system can be used for motorway toll payments.
Slow up take
It is highly unlikely that quick tap is going to fly off the shelves; there will be some uptake due to the novelty factor but most Brits will consider the technology pointless. The idea of technology is to save time but quick tap saves very little time on just using a credit card. Most people will find it too troublesome to change their mobile phone network, open a new bank account and buy a new handset just to be able to buy a Big Mac using a mobile phone.
On the other hand smartphones are slowly becoming the centre of the universe and it’s not exactly difficult to imagine a world where people use their phones instead of credit cards. You have to respect Orange and Barclays for being the first to make it happen, as more shops sign up and people become more aware you can see how this technology will grow. Also as the trend of mobile phone coupons grows smartphone users will become more accustomed to swiping their handset in shops – in the future it will be one swipe to get your discount and to pay.