Orange, O2 push mobile payments in UK

Orange launched the UK's first contactless mobile payment service, and O2 UK announced its partners for a complete mobile wallet solution to be launched in the second half of the year, accelerating the m-payment market in Britain.

Orange's service is based on its QuickTap app and will work with an installed base of NFC readers in over 50,000 shops across the country. The payment system at the NFC PoS terminal is MasterCard's  PayPass, while Gemalto has supplied Barclays with its SIM-based Trusted Service Management solution to support the secure deployment and management of mobile contactless payment.

The service is being offered in partnership with Barclaycard and will work for payments limited to under £15. It is further limited as, like all NFC services, it requires customers to purchase a new, NFC-enabled handset and it will only be available to Barclaycard, Barclays debit or Orange Credit Card customers.

While Orange has moved first, O2 has finalised its partner line-up for a more complete mobile wallet proposition. The capabilities planned for the wallet include not just contactless NFC payments but also m-commerce, airtime top ups, and peer-to-peer payments.  

In recognition of the complicated processes involved in such a proposition, O2 is working with four different partners. Wave Crest will provide and operate the core banking platform upon which the new prepaid card and mobile wallet services will run. FIS will provide transaction processing. Intelligent Environments, a digital banking provider and part of the Parseq Group, has been appointed to develop the wallet application which will be compatible with a wide range of mobile devices. Finally, Visa Europe will provide the payment network for the wallet.

Major attention is also being placed on the customer experience with Wave Crest managing security and the online customer experience, while FIS will provide UK-based customer service for both the prepaid cards and mobile wallet.

With multiple partners involved, the value chain for mobile money is complicated and the commercial details which would provide insight into the relationships have not been made public for either deal. However, a clear shift has taken place in recent months in which operators have started to see mobile payments as more than a direct revenue stream.

Bill Gajda, the head of mobile at Visa, told FierceWireless:Europe, "The breakthrough came with operators moving away from trying to be part of the transaction. New models based on SIM rental and building experiences around NFC payments are emerging and gaining traction."

For more:
- see this FT article
- see this Mobile Europe article
- see this Cellular News article
- see this Mobile Business Briefing article
- see this Orange release
- see this O2 release

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