Vodafone to launch mobile wallet in the UK in October

Vodafone confirmed that it plans to launch its mobile wallet in the UK in October, in what will be the fourth market for the service after Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

As in the previous three markets, the contactless mobile payments service, which is based on near-field communications (NFC) technology, will be launched in the UK market together with Visa.

Visa SmartPass is the first application of the mobile wallet service and is based on a prepaid Visa solution. It is designed for transactions under €25 ($32.37), with transactions in excess of that amount requiring a passcode.

A spokesman for Vodafone UK noted that the UK launch will coincide with the next update of the software, as well as with the extension of contactless payments to the London Underground, trams, the Dockland Light Railway (DLR), London Overground trains, and most National Rail services in London. On its Web site, Transport for London (TfL) says travellers will be able to use their contactless payment cards throughout the London transport network from Sept. 16.

In April this year, TfL customer experience director Shashi Verma told NFC World that "in principle, mobile phones with a Visa, Mastercard or Amex payment application could be accepted on our services. We are testing to see how the devices perform on the system and welcome any innovations which improve the services and choices we are able to offer customers."

EE has already started to offer contactless mobile payments on London buses using its Cash on Tap service, for example. The company said the new service would do away with Oyster cards--the contactless ticket system used across London's entire transport network--and contactless debit cards for regular bus travellers.

Vodafone, which like EE and O2 UK is also part of the Weve mobile payments venture, plans to substantially expand its Vodafone Wallet service in the future to include services such as public transport tickets, e-tickets, contactless keys (for example to an office or hotel room) and many others.

For more:
- see this NFC World article from April
- see this Visa release on the Netherlands launch

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