Vodafone UK customers will be able to get their hands on its new mobile wallet service from spring 2014, after the service went live today (22 November).
The Vodafone Wallet allows consumers to pay for everyday goods, carry travel cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and vouchers. The operator has teamed up with Visa to provide the Vodafone SmartPass payment system that uses Near-Field Communication technology to buy items. Devices from Samsung, Sony and HTC will be the first to be compatible with the Wallet. Other SmartPass features include transfering cash to their mobile devices, check balances and make purchases of more than £20 by using a PIN. If a consumer does not have an NFC-enabled device, they can get a tag that allows them to make payments.
Spain is the first market to get the service, with Germany to follow next month and the UK, Netherlands and Italy to get the service in spring 2014. The operator said it is working with European banks to integrate their cards into the wallet. Staff at the network's Newbury campus had been testing the service throughout this year.
Christian Wirtz, group m-commerce director at Vodafone, said: 'The Vodafone Wallet offers our customers the speed, simplicity and convenience of managing everyday transactions with their smartphone. By building our service on the latest GlobalPlatform standard as opposed to a proprietary system, our mobile wallet is open to all third-party service providers, including banks and financial institutions, and we are focused on delivering the broadest service portfolio possible.'
Sandra Alzetta, executive director at Visa Europe, said: 'We’re proud to be taking the mobile payments ecosystem a further step forward with the launch of the SmartPass app and accompanying microtag, the first fruits of our partnership with Vodafone. Customers across Europe will be able to make secure mobile contactless payments through the Visa prepaid card in the SmartPass service, as well as take advantage of the benefits offered by a truly open mobile wallet; backed by all the security, trust and acceptance the Visa brand represents.'
Author: Graeme Neill