Mobile operator Orange has partnered with Barclaycard to introduce a contactless mobile payment system that will let its customers make small purchases with their mobile phone.
Orange’s parent company, Everything Everywhere, claims that its new service will be ‘the UK’s first commercial contactless mobile payments service’, and plans to roll it out to Orange and Barclaycard customers by early summer 2011.
You’ll only be able to use the new contactless payment system in retail outlets that have the ability to accept contactless payments, such as Pret a Manger, Eat and Little Chef. Orange says that currently more than 40,000 retailers use contactless technology, though it seems likely that this number will increase if contactless payments prove popular among consumers.
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Will mobile payments make wallets obsolete?
Orange already offers a contactless credit card in partnership with Barclaycard, and sees mobile payments as building on this partnership.
To start with, customers will only be able to use Orange’s contactless mobile payment system for purchases of £15 or less, so occasions when users can leave their wallet at home will be few and far between.
But Orange has suggested that its new system is the first step in a trend that will change the way we make everyday purchases, and could see us using our mobiles to pay for anything from a sandwich to a computer within the next few years.
Which? mobile expert Ceri Stanaway says: ‘Mobile phones have come a long way from their traditional use for making calls and sending texts. Modern smartphones already double as cameras, music players and mini-computers – now it’s easy to foresee a time where they’ll replace our wallets too.’
Find out what Which? members think of Orange and Barclaycard in the Which? mobile reviews and Which? credit card reviews
Is contactless mobile payment secure?
In a press release on its website, Orange says the new contactless mobile payment technology has been developed to ensure customers’ transactions and personal data will be protected and secure. It says: ‘The launch proposition will focus on an industry backed, Sim-based approach to payments, ensuring enhanced security for customers, as well as to initially provide a single point of customer care contact.’
MasterCard will provide the payment capability for the contactless mobile transactions.
Mobile phone fraud
The use of mobiles as payment mechanisms also raises concerns about the potential for stolen mobiles to be used fraudulently to make payments, particularly given that – unlike debit and credit cards – the customer is liable for the full cost of fraudulent use of their mobile phone to make calls, send texts and access the internet.
Which?, however, has confirmed with Barclaycard that if your Orange mobile is stolen and used to make fraudulent contactless payments, you will have the same financial protections as you would do with a credit or debit card.
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