Orange France teamed up with Visa Europe to launch a prepaid near-field communication (NFC) service for smartphone users across France in 2014.
Called "Orange Cash," the service is designed to enable customers to make secure payments to retailers through their NFC-compatible mobile phones using a prepayment solution. Orange said the service is the first of its kind in France and uses contactless Visa technology pre-loaded onto all Orange NFC SIM cards.
The service is designed and managed in collaboration with the Wirecard Group and Wirecard Card Solutions, which are members of Visa Europe. It will be available for Orange customers in Strasbourg and Caen in early 2014, ahead of a nationwide rollout in the second quarter of the year.
"Paying with your smartphone is a new function which will take off due to its practicality in everyday life," Thierry Millet, vice president of mobile payments and NFC at Orange, said in a statement. "By launching Orange Cash, we want to accelerate the adoption of mobile payment generally and, of course, among our customers via a simple and secured solution."
To use the service, Orange customers have to download the Orange Cash application and top up their Orange Cash account using their bank cards. Payments are made by placing the mobile phone on NFC payment terminals in shops, and payments in excess of €20 ($26.70) will require a separate PUN code.
Orange is already involved in a number of NFC ventures across Europe, including the Cityzi payment and transport ticketing service across France. Rival operators Bouygues Telecom and SFR also offer the service.
According to figures released by L'Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile (AFSCM) in September, the number of French consumers with a Cityzi NFC smartphone now exceeds 4 million.
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