A mobile wallet project in Hungary is taking the leap from testing to market rollout after receiving positive feedback from initial users.

Hungary’s major mobile network operators — Magyar Telekom, Vodafone and Telenor — joined with MasterCard and OTP Bank [National Savings Bank] to develop the MobilTarca Wallet. The wallet allows Near Field Communication payments through a mobile phone at terminals that accept MasterCard PayPass.

The mobile network alliance, called the Hungarian Mobile Wallet Association, began testing the wallet last summer and announced Nov. 27 that eight of 10 consumers participating in the test found the service “very useful.”

In addition, half of the testers “have left their traditional wallet at home at least once and went shopping only with their mobile phone,” the association states in a press release.

During the first three months of testing, from July through September, participants used the mobile wallet for payment at more than 2,000 merchant locations and initiated more than 15,000 transactions, the association says.

"Due to its integrating role, the mobile wallet has the ability to change our current card usage habits and can contribute to raise awareness in our everyday purchasing," Gábor Pukler, president of the Hungarian Mobile Wallet Association, states in the release.

Testers used their mobile phones four times more often than standard plastic cards, and were "satisfied mainly with security, the speed and the simplicity of the payment process," the association says test results revealed.

The average value of a purchase consumers made with the mobile wallet was 2,700 Hungarian forint (U.S. $12), while an average bank card transaction is 6,600 forint (U.S. $30), the association says.

"This is especially good news for the banks, because the mobile wallet is able to replace the small amounts of cash payments," Pukler adds.

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