UK telecommunications provider O2 has launched a mobile application that supports a range of mobile commerce services.
O2 Wallet has four functions. The Money Message feature allows customers to make money transfers of up to £500 to other mobile phone users. To access the money, the recipient must also sign up to O2 Wallet, on their phone or online.
The app also offers in-store shopping functionality, allowing users to scan product barcodes and check prices in other outlets. This service also offers daily discounts with retailers including Debenhams, Comet, Sainsbury’s Direct and Tesco Direct.
There are two further services that allow users to make payments using their phones. User’s credit card or debit card accounts can be linked to the O2 Wallet app, so they can make payments via the app using those accounts. They can also pre-pay funds into an O2 Wallet account, allowing to "manage their money".
The O2 Wallet can also be linked to an O2-branded version of Visa’s pre-paid account card.
O2 Wallet is not currently near-field communications enabled. That means that users cannot pay for items in shop with their phone on its own. However, an O2 spokesperson told Information Age that this functionality will be introduced "once consumers/handsets and retailers are all NFC enabled".
O2 said the Wallet service was developed by a team of 250 experts, and in partnership with various industry players. These include a company called IDT Financial Services Limited, which is supply O2 with a temporary licenses to transact electronic payments, as its own licenses has yet to be approved.
According to a survey by Intelligent Environment, a ‘digital banking’ provider that worked on the O2 Wallet project, found that 29% of British mobile phone owners are keen to use mobile payments instead of cash of card for transactions worth less that £20.