A couple of new developments in contactless payment technology have been announced in the UK in last few days.
Firstly, VISA Europe has begun a trial which allows users to use their iPhones to make payments with their phones, thanks to a hardware add-on from a company called Wireless Dynamics. Their “iCarte” accessory contains an NFC antenna and an “embedded Secure Element where the Visa mobile card is safely stored”.
Together with the VISA app from the app store, users can make payments using their phone without the need for entering a PIN. As an added security measure, there is an aggregate limit for contactless transactions, which is automatically re-set once your PIN is entered. Every now and again cardholders will be asked for their PIN to ensure that the card is still with its rightful owner, plus a PIN may also be required for higher value purchases.
There’s not much more information available on the trial, other than it involves Coventry Building Society, so it might just be a limited test with the Building Society’s customers.
Barclaycard & Everything Everywhere
Of more interest is the Â venture Â between Barclaycard and Everything Everywhere (the new group which owns the Orange & T-Mobile mobile phone networks) which aims to bring contactless payments to Orange customers in over 40,000 stores across the UK.
The move will usher in a new era for consumers, offering greater simplicity, convenience and control and will change the way payments are made on UK high streets. This is the beginning of a revolution in how we pay for things on the high street. Itâ€™s a cultural shift that is as important as the launch of the personal credit card or ATMs.
They’re hoping to launch a new flagship handset by the summer which will include NFC technology, and together with a pre-paid account from Barclaycard, will allow users to make small transactions (up to Â£15 initially).
The technology will be built into the SIM card (rather than the phone), and there are already a few phones that can handle this technology, such as the Nokia C7 or Google Nexus S, although Everything Everywhere has not confirmed which manufacturer(s) its working with.
Of course, the summer may see the release of the new iPhone, iPhone 5, which is expected to have NFC technology built into it, so we could begin to see a real battle to take control of mobile payments later this year.