Orange and Barclaycard partner on touchless pay-by-phone tech
Sony goes alone e-payment TV remote
The death knell for physical cash payments has sounded once again, this time following an agreement between Orange and Barclaycard to co-develop contact-less payment services for mobile phones.
Orange and Barclaycard will co-develop NFC tech
The duo will launch co-branded contactless payment products and services based on near-field communications (NFC) technology, allowing you to simply wave your mobile over an in-store reader to pay for, say, a train ticket.
Although neither firm’s said anything concrete about what hardware the partnership will eventually herald, they did state that the joint venture will result in contactless services for ticketing, transport and rewards. We assume the latter could mean airtime vouchers and credit card points.
“Today you pay for things by cash or on your credit card. Tomorrow, you’ll use your mobile to buy the things you want,” said Tom Alexander, head of Orange UK.
Back in late 2007, Barclays launched OnePulse – a NFC-enabled credit card that allows the user to wirelessly pay for a range of things, including sandwiches, sushi, coffee and tube travel in London.
Sony's FeliCa remote
If you’re more of a lounge lizard though, then your heart rate might be more excited by Sony’s launch of a TV remote control with e-cash payment functionality built in.
The remote – which will ship with Sony's KDL series of Bravia TVs – supports FeliCa, a contact-less smartcard payment system commonplace in Japan, where the remote will be released next month. This will allow the set’s owner to wirelessly pay for things like movies using an e-wallet that’s managed by the remote control. ®
Nope, this isn't mobile payments
This is basically the same as carrying a contactless Barclaycard, but stuffed inside your mobile phone. There's no "e-wallet" planned at the moment, and this really isn't actual mobile payment. It's just a Barclaycard. On a SIM. Deep joy.
You'll only be able to make contactless payments for things that cost less than a tenner. Your Oystercard (also in the phone, natch) will have to be charged at an Oyster terminal. You'll have to enter your PIN into the phone every few transactions to verify it's still you that has it.
Basically, this is a really stupid idea. You will have to carry your Barclaycard with you *anyway*, because not that many places have contactless readers and you can't use the phone to buy anything over £10, but now your phone is a much more tempting target for thieves.
@Nicholas Wright: no, they won't need to cover that under the insurance because it's exactly the same from the point of view of the Consumer Credit Act as having your credit card lost or stolen. The consumer isn't liable, unless you count "liable to get stabbed in the face for waving their phone/free cash for thieves around on the Tube".
@Paul: it's not the most stupid idea ever, but it has to make the Top 20.
@Max: It will still work even when the phone is switched off. It won't work with a *completely* flat battery, but "battery insufficient to run the phone" and "battery completely flat" are in no way the same thing in this context.
@Jerome: No, this is not an e-wallet, this is not a new Mondex, there is no "cash" on the phone. It's a Barclaycard - just like any other but effectively superglued to a mobile phone - the contactless facility of which can be used to make micropayments. There is nothing even slightly interesting about it from a consumer perspective and certainly nothing terribly revolutionary from a technology perspective.
This has been tried, several times before, and nobody has ever cared.
Niche meats niche
Great. So if I take out a Barclaycard account, and take out an Orange contract, then I'll have an option to get a specific Orange-rebranded handset that will contain an ecash chip, which will be accepted by precisely 2 fast food chains in Central London only. And maybe a free water chute commute home.
Niche x niche x niche = no-one uses it
Hopefully enough Tier 1 co's will put their muscle behind a public standard, that everyone will subscribe to, and everyone will use. Or perhaos someone like Tesco will start accepting Oyster in central London stores, and the momentum will carry. Otherwise, it's yet another dead duck.
This is NFC = Near Field Communications technology, essentially the same priniciple by which Oyster cards work (i.e. no battery!). In other words, it should work OK even on a flat phone - you would probably need power to be able to upload money to the e-Wallet though.
Please make a note:
That your credit/debit card and the cash in your pocket never run out of power.
I'll stay with cash and off the grid, thanks.
@Anonymous Cashtard - I think the idea is that you load as much "cash" as you'll be needing onto your mobile, rather than it having direct access to your bank account. Hence the term "electronic wallet", cos it's kinda like a wallet, see?
The anonymity of cash is a good point though. Sadly I can't see this factoring into many people's reaction to the new tech. The company will just do a Tesco: offer a crapload of rewards for users when the scheme launches, then quietly make them utterly worthless once everyone's adopted the technology.