Weve partners with MasterCard to provide smartphone payments

By Sooraj Shah
06 Feb 2014 View Comments
Mobile phone and credit card

Weve, the joint venture between mobile operators O2, Vodafone and EE, has announced that it has partnered with MasterCard to provide mobile payments.

The new payments system, which could be incorporated into many of the UK's banking apps, will allow consumers to tap their mobile phone onto contactless point-of-sale (POS) technology that many retailers are already using, to pay for their shopping items.

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MasterCard's UK and Ireland president, Marion King, said that the system would be completely different to alternatives out there already including Barclays PingIt and Zapp, because the phone will use existing account information of a user, rather than the consumer having to top up, or enter a code online to access their mobile wallet.

Banks will be able to tap into the technology and integration services that MasterCard provides, so that they don't have to deploy POS technology separately, while many retailers already accept contactless payments and will not require any further technology to accept the Weve-MasterCard payments.

The technology relies on Near Field Communications (NFC), which is already integrated onto many smartphones including the Samsung S4. But unlike many mobile wallet options, the payment relies on an NFC-enabled SIM card.

Weve CEO David Sear told Computing that this meant that a user who had an NFC-enabled SIM card inserted into a smartphone would be able to pay from their current account, even if the phone had no battery, and was not connected to the internet through Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G.

"It is a point of sale transaction so it doesn't need your battery or the internet," he said.

When Computing asked Sear and King what this meant for Apple, who have so far shown no interest in incorporating NFC into their phones, they both said that they hoped the Cupertino, California based firm would change its mind.

Sear said that there are currently more than 300,000 retailers accepting contactless payments. 

Last week, Weve announced that Tesco would be the first to trial a new mobile display advertising service from the joint venture.

The service aims to deliver targeted ads to mobile users using anonymised information gathered from the telecoms firms' opted-in customers.

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