Barclaycard and wireless-network operator Everything Everywhere Ltd. on May 19 officially launched the United Kingdom’s first contactless mobile-payment system, which uses a pay-as-you-go handset from Samsung Group. But its success could hinge on merchant acceptance of the technology continuing to grow.
Consumers may use the Samsung Tocco Quick Tap handset for purchases up to £15 (US$24.23 or 17.14 euros), according to a joint press release.
Some 50,000 locations that deploy contactless point-of-sale terminals can accept the mobile payments. The locations include quick-service restaurants operated by Pret A Manger Ltd., McDonald’s Corp. and Subway and sporting-events venue Wembley Arena.
The Samsung Tocco Quick Tap handset costs £59.99 and offers monthly wireless plans for as little as £10 based on a two-year contract.
The companies are using a SIM card in the handsets to support the contactless function because they believe it protects consumers’ transaction and personal data better than a separate Near Field Communication chip would (see story).
The card features MasterCard Worldwide’s PayPass contactless-payment product, and Gemalto NV is responsible for Barclaycard’s trusted service management operated services, which enable the secure deployment and management of mobile contactless payments.
Barclaycard could not confirm how many Samsung Quick Tap handsets are available for purchase, but a spokesperson tells PaymentsSource France-based mobile-network operator Orange is speaking with leading handset manufacturers about adding the technology.
Everything Everywhere is a partnership between Orange and German mobile operator T-Mobile, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG. Barclaycard and Orange entered into a strategic partnership in 2009 (see story).
Barclaycard credit and debit cardholders and Orange credit card users may transfer funds from their account to a mobile-wallet application on the handset. The wallet holds up to £100, and transfers are free, the Barclaycard spokesperson says.
Consumers also may use the app to track purchases and their balance. As part of the launch, Barclaycard is providing Orange customers with £10 in their account upon activation and 10% cash back on all Quick Tap purchases made in the first three months.
Barclaycard and Orange both are engaged in a “multi-channel” marketing campaign that includes direct mailings and advertising at wireless operators’ stores, the spokesperson tells PaymentsSource.
Barclaycard says it is striving to add more contactless payment terminals across the UK. The relatively few contactless terminals deployed in the country, however, traditionally has been a problem in the region, observers say.
“It’s never enough to have the [contactless-payment capability],” Nick Collin, a director at Collin Consulting Ltd., told PaymentsSource earlier this year. “You have to have the terminals as well, and people always underestimate that barrier.”
The Barclaycard and Everything Everywhere partnership needs is “a few big retailers to come on board with the terminals or, longer term, for the terminal manufacturers to make contactless standard,” Collin says.
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