Visa's payWave contactless technology will power a new Orange Cash mobile payment system that will provide loyalty programs and coupons for consumers across France.

Orange, the largest mobile operator in France, plans to launch the Orange Cash mobile prepaid card nationally during the second quarter of 2014 after initial tests in Strasbourg and Caen.

The deal will call for Visa to preload its technology onto all Orange Near Field Communication SIM cards for smartphone handsets. Orange has 27 million customers in France.

Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd., a member of Visa Europe, will operate as the card issuer and manage the Orange Cash mobile platform, providing the loyalty and coupon programs for merchants and consumers, the company stated Nov. 8.

Customers will be able to download an Orange Cash app and load a pre-paid account onto their phones. The app allows consumers to make payments of less than 20 euros (US $26) by tapping their handsets against Visa payWave readers. For payments of more than 20 euros, consumers must input a code they have chosen.

"By launching Orange Cash, we want to accelerate the adoption of mobile payment generally and, of course, among our customers via a simple and secured solution, which offers many advantages," Thierry Millet, Orange's vice president of mobile payments and NFC, states in a press release.

Those making purchases with Orange Cash through a mobile phone handset will receive incentives or cash back from merchants or sponsors at the point of sale.

Orange says it is also making a one-time-use virtual card number available through the Orange Cash prepaid account for consumers wanting to use Orange Cash when shopping online.

"The context in France is positive," Millet says. "We have been driving the rollout of NFC-enabled smartphones for several years, and have already issued a large number of NFC-based SIM cards."

Also this week, Wirecard announced it would issue the MasterCard Maestro debit card and provide technology for the E-Plus mobile wallet in Germany.

A year ago, Orange entered a partnership with Facebook to allow Orange customers to make online purchases on Facebook and charge them to their phone bills.

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