Orange has launched its Orange Cash mobile contactless payments system this week in two French cities.

Orange Cash operates with a Visa prepaid card loaded on a Near Field Communication-enabled smartphone, and is France's first such system from a mobile network operator, Orange says. In November, Orange announced it was working with Visa Europe to utilize Visa's payWave contactless technology to create Orange Cash, with plans for Strasbourg and Caen to be the first cities to use the system.

Orange is directing its customers to visit an Orange store to download the payment application and activate Orange Cash. Users will add funds to a prepaid card account by linking an existing debit or credit card, Orange states in a Feb. 13 press release.

Orange says it is promoting the launch by rewarding customers who register before June 30 with 10 euros ($13 U.S.) when they open the account, and an additional 25 euros after making 100 euros worth of contactless purchases.

Orange Cash users can view transactions and check account balances in real time, Orange says. The application uses a phone's GPS function to will display offers from nearby retailers.

The launch helps Orange provide its customers "with an innovative service that simplifies the daily lives of our customers and provides a new stimulus for local commerce," Delphine Ernotte Cunci, Orange's senior executive vice president in France, states in the release.

Orange will continue its planned rollout of Orange Cash throughout France in 2014, Cunci says.

Wirecard Card Solutions, a member of Visa Europe, manages the Orange Cash application.

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