EE has announced plans to launch Cash on Tap, a near-field communication (NFC) mobile payments service, in a bid to gain a slice of the expanding UK market from competitors like O2 and Visa.
EE confirmed it has partnered with MasterCard to launch the service, promising it has already secured deals to ensure 230,000 UK outlets, including McDonald's, Boots, and Greggs will accept Cash on Tap payments.
The app will be available to all compliant NFC phones and EE has confirmed it will come preinstalled on Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia SP and Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE handsets ordered directly from it.
As an added incentive EE is offering early adopters £10 free credit, giving away £5 when users first activate the Cash on Tap app and a second £5 when they top up their digital wallet using their MasterCard for the first time.
The news comes as MasterCard competitor Visa outlined its plans to push NFC mobile payments push in the UK. Prior to EE's announcement, Visa head of mobile business, Sandra Alzetta, said the company has also struck a number of strategic partnerships with network carriers and mobile phone manufacturers to increase interest in mobile payments.
The strategy includes partnerships with Telefonica and Samsung and is expected to cause a marked boom in mobile payments, with Visa predicting that by 2020 over half of all transactions will be made on smartphones. A Visa spokesperson told V3 the firm is unperterbed by the news, reiterating the company's previous growth estimates.
"Visa welcomes new entrants to the mobile payments market. We consider the market potential for mobile payments to be considerable," they said.
"Visa estimates that by the year 2020, 50 percent of all Visa transactions will be conducted via a mobile device (smartphone, laptop or tablet PC). Visa is already working with partners around the world including mobile operators like Telefonica and Vodafone to help put mobile payments into the hands of consumers."
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