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Orange and Barclaycard to roll out NFC mobile payments by end of 2010 –but will it be a success this time around?

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Network operator Orange and card company Barclaycard are to roll out an NFC (near field communication) contactless mobile payment solution across the UK “by the end of 2010” say execs at the card company as the industry tries again to get the infrastructure out into the market.

Orange and Barclaycard will launch new co-branded products and services to make the buying process more convenient, simpler and faster. The companies are also hoping that their combined 28 million customer base will this time swing public opinion – and that of the merchants who have to install the readers – to get behind NFC.

Customers will be able to use their mobiles to pay for goods and services at retailers by waving their handset against a reader. Both companies will be looking to expand the partnership to include other contactless services within ticketing, transport and rewards. MasterCard will provide the payment capabilities for the transactions.

The partnership between Barclaycard and Orange will also enable market-leading mobile alerts, servicing capabilities and new banking applications, all of which will help customers keep in control of their finances while on the move.

Over the next few months customers will start to see the benefits of the partnership with a host of marketing opportunities currently being finalised by Orange and Barclaycard.

But let’s not forget that Barclaycard has form in NFC. A few years ago it tried to launch a similar scheme with Nokia and O2. It didn’t, as you are probably aware, catch on. The problem? Merchants were not prepared to shoulder the cost of the infrastructure. Will it be different this time round? Perhaps, as one mobile industry insider who wishes to remain anonymous told us, “Nokia or Orange should pay for the terminals. Then maybe NFC will become a reality”.

Speaking more conventionally and on-message about the launch, Tom Alexander, CEO of Orange UK, said: “The mobile industry is being looked to more and more by companies wanting to evolve the way they do business with their customers, and a key part of our strategy at Orange is to grow and evolve our business in order to provide people with services beyond talk and text. This new partnership with Barclaycard is at the forefront of that kind of thinking, and our customers will benefit from the leading-edge technology that both Orange and Barclaycard can provide.”

Antony Jenkins, CEO of Barclaycard, added: “This partnership brings together a leader in communications and the UK’s leading payments brand with the aim of revolutionising the way people pay. There has been a lot of talk about mobile payments and now it’s going to become a reality for our customers because of Barclaycard’s commitment to contactless technology and the coming together of two dynamic and imaginative organisations.

“Both Barclaycard and Orange have a heritage of innovation and can see how mobile communications and payments can come together for the benefit of our customers. I believe that all our UK customers will be able to use their mobile phones to pay for everyday items within three years.”
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