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Motorola pilots 'digital wallet' phone trials

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Motorola has teamed up with Mastercard to conduct US trials of technology that allows mobile phones to act as "digital wallets".

The phones in the field trial will be equipped with MasterCard's PayPass, a contactless payment technology touted as making it far more convenient for users to pay for goods and services based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips.

"In essence your phone will become your wallet, key chain and your ID,” said Ron Hamma, VP and director of enterprise business development at Motorola. The phone can function as a contactless reader, "paving the way for a variety of marketing and promotional applications," Motorola says. "Applications can be loaded into the secure area of the phone ‘over the air,’ offering potential operational savings to card issuing financial institutions, as well as revenue opportunities to wireless network operators."


The handsets will incorporate a number of security features to protect financial data and to ensure consumers a secure financial transaction, Motorola assures potential users. Quite what these features are isn't specified. Motorola phones enabled with MasterCard PayPass technology are expected to be trialled by the end of this year in select locations across the US. Two model types will be involved but Motorola isn't saying which for now.

The Motorola trial is part of wider industry plans to get us using our mobiles as payment devices, which to date have focused predominantly on the Far East. Nokia and Samsung Electronics have both announced plans to incorporate contactless payment technology into their respective handsets. ®

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