A German mobile network operator and a bank's digital technology unit will soon introduce a smartphone-based digital wallet and person-to-person money transfer system.

Telefonica Germany and Wirecard AG will offer the virtual O2 Wallet mPass Card within the next month, bolstering the country’s recent moves into contactless and Near Field Communication payments.

Earlier this month, the German Banking Industry Committee approved an Ingenico SA terminal for its contactless payments program called giorgo, based on a prepaid contactless payment card.

Wirecard AG, a unit of card-issuing bank Wirecard Bank AG, will manage the payment processing and provide Telefonica with the technology to incorporate the virtual wallet onto NFC-enabled SIM cards in mobile phone handsets, the companies stated in a Jan. 30 press release.

The mPass person-to-person transfers will not require the recipient’s bank account details, but only the mobile phone number, Telefonica says.

Telefonica says it was the first network operator to introduce mobile and contactless payments in Germany in October 2012 through the use of NFC stickers. The company says the development of the O2 Wallet is the next stage for mobile payments in the country.

The companies made their announcement at this week’s Hubert Burda Media Digital Conference. Hubert Burda is a popular fashion and lifestyle magazine in Germany.

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