Orange, Apple & McDonald’s back contactless payment

Mobile telco Orange, hardware maker Apple and the UK division of fast food giant McDonalds are all throwing their weight behind contactless payment technology, it emerged this week.

Their support boosts the prospects of “mobile wallet” systems, in which consumers use their mobile phones for small transactions instead of cash.

Later this year, Orange will release SIM cards with near-field communications technology, which supports ‘wave and pay’ systems at shop tills as well as travelcard systems such as London’s Oyster, built in, the company announced yesterday.

"Our commitment to contactless services will benefit customers,” said CEO Stephane Richard, “giving them a seamless, convenient and secure way to validate transport or make payments."

Apple, meanwhile, is reportedly building NFC technology into the next versions of its iPhone and iPad devices. Combining this with the payments infrastructure it has built around music download service iTunes could, according to technology blog TechCrunch “transform Apple from the biggest technology company in the world, to the biggest company in the world, period. By far.”

In December 2010, Google revealed that the latest version of its Nexus smartphone contains an NFC chip, although for the moment it is “read only”.

Earlier this week, McDonalds’ UK division announced that it will support Visa’s contactless card system in 1,200 outlets. Experts said this deployment will pave the way for mobile-based contactless payments in future.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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