O2 to launch mobile wallet service in second half

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Service likely to be available to all O2 customers in Q3 allowing contactless payments through an estimated 60,000 points of sale by years end

O2 will apply for an e-money licence this year as it readies its self to launch a contactless “mobile wallet” payment service in the second half – most likely in Q3.

The service will provide customers with the contactless ability to use cash ‘banked’ with O2 for retail purchases, airtime top ups and eventually transport and entertainment ticket purchases on their mobiles.

The operator already offers a prepay Visa money card which alerts the user when ever it is topped up.

Holding an e-money licence will allow it to offer peer to peer services to customers without partnering with a bank.

The service will be available to all O2 customers and will eventually be pre-installed in mobile devices on sale from the operator.

O2 head of financial services James le Brocq (pictured) told Mobile News 2011 was an opportune time for O2 to launch the service as contactless technology gathers pace before the London Olympics next year.

the event is being billed as a contactless event.

“You are seeing a massive increase in the number of banks that are issuing contactless debit and credit cards at the moment. There will be 22 million contactless debit and credit cards and 60,000 contactless points of sale in the UK by years end.

“O2 is investing substantially in the money business and recruiting more financial experts which will allow us to bring together the experience and capabilities of the financial services sector together with mobile to get the best of both worlds.”

le Brocq said he expects to announce a range of partnerships with “a number” of organisations in relation to the mobile wallet service, most likely in the next two months.

Orange announced the launch of a similar contactless payment service earlier this year in partnership with Barclaycard.

However le Brocq, a former Barclaycard employee said it was not worth speculating O2 would announce a similar partnership.

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