Orange and Barclaycard have launched the UK's first contactless payment service allowing customers to pay for purchases using a smartphone.
Orange Quick Tap allows payments of up to £15 in over 50,000 outlets around the country, including Pret A Manger, McDonald's and Subway.
Customers have to purchase a Samsung Tocco Lite smartphone to use the service, which is available for £55 on pay-as-you-go or free on a £10 per month, two-year contract.
Customers also need an Orange credit card, Barclaycard or Barclays debit card to transfer money onto the Quick Tap app.
Barclaycard is touting the system as highly secure, highlighting the fact that users can opt to input a PIN every time they make a payment.
Payments are made online, meaning that no transactions can be carried out if a card or phone is cancelled, and there is also a 100 per cent fraud guarantee, Barclaycard said.
Using mobile phones to make payments is a natural extension of the smartphone, according to Pippa Dunn, vice president at Orange.
"We no longer use our mobile phones simply for talking and texting. Apps, cameras and music players allow us to use them for a lot more," she said.
"Orange Quick Tap is the first of its kind, a service that allows you to pay for everyday items just by tapping your phone wherever you see the contactless payment symbol. It's going to start a revolution in the way we pay for things on the high street."
Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, told V3.co.uk that this will be the first of many services as near-field communication (NFC) technology becomes a common feature on Android, BlackBerry and possibly Apple devices.
"[However], a little more work needs to be done on the service side as there are different kinds NFC approaches being used by the providers," she said.
"As long as the limit on the device is set to small amounts, I do not think these kinds of services will increase concerns around security."
There are currently 12.9 million contactless cardholders in the UK, and Barclaycard expects the new service to drive adoption.
O2 is gearing up to introduce NFC services during 2011, including a wallet application and direct-to-bill and peer-to-peer payment facilities.
Analyst firm Juniper Research predicted that NFC will be built into one in five smartphones by 2014 as mobile payment and interactive promotions take off.
Over 23 million NFC-capable smartphones are expected to be in circulation by the end of 2011, according to Juniper.
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