French operators to trial NFC payment services

The leading French mobile operators have agreed to participate in a series of NFC-based mobile payment trials with urban transit provider Veolia Transport and a number of banks. The trials, scheduled to start early next year in Nice with SFR, Orange and Bouygues Telecom, plan to involve up to 1,000 subscribers on each network using handsets enabled with NFC technology to pay for services including travel tickets.

This trial follows several other attempts in Europe to understand how NFC-enabled handsets can work for travel and banking services. O2 UK recently completed a large-scale pilot scheme and, while claiming it to have been a success, had no plans to proceed any further.

However, new research from TowerGroup finds that 2009 will be a pivotal year for mobile banking as it turns from a niche channel to a mainstream channel for consumer banking. TowerGroup estimates that mobile banking usage will grow from 10 million active users in 2009 to over 53 million active users in 2013, representing a compound annual growth rate of over 50 per cent.

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