Vodafone’s announced it’s managed to tie-up Visa for the “world’s largest” mobile payment system launching in the UK in April. It’ll revolve around a phone-based ‘mobile wallet’ powered by NFC that sounds a lot like Google Wallet crossed with MasterCard’s PayPass.
Using Visa’s payWave, NFC-equipped equipped phones will be able to use Vodafone’s mobile wallet to buy everyday things like coffees, bus tickets and other low-value things via a simple wave of the phone. Higher value purchases will require a pin code entry so no one can run off with your phone and charge a Ferrari to your account.
Vodafone and Visa are also pushing integration for all your loyalty cards too, so you really will only need your phone to buy stuff. It’ll be based on a Visa prepaid account to start with, meaning you’re not going to be charging all your purchases to your phone bill.
With Google Wallet supposedly launching before the Olympics and now Visa on the case, this might be the year that brings NFC payments to prime time in the UK. I can’t wait till the smartphone kills off yet another unnecessary thing I have to pocket after successfully ridding me of the camera, the MP3 player, the PDA, and now the wallet.