Orange and O2 announce mobile money details

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Operators start to deliver on mobile money services

Two UK operators have announced plans for mobile money and payments services.

Orange, which has committed at a group level to pushing out mobile payments throughout its European operations during 2011, announced that it was launching an NFC-based retail payment service called Quick Tap.

And O2 announced the technical and service partners it would be working with to deliver a mobile money service later this year. O2's parent Telefonica is the probably the most aggressive group operator in the NFC space, outside of Orange.

Orange UK customers will be able to pay for items up to £15 without entering a PIN, Orange is offering the service on a Samsung Tocco Quick Tap handset available on Pay As You Go for £59.99, and from free on Pay Monthly contracts from £10 per month on 24 month contracts. Orange has said that it wants half of the smartphones it sells to be NFC-enabled. Clearly this launch has come too early to offer that sort of device diversity.

Gemalto is acting as the Trusted Service Manager, which includes the supply of NFC-enabled SIMs, containing the secure element, to Orange.

Orange said the NFC phones will work at 50,000 stores, mainly at branches of Pret a Manger, EAT, Little Chef, Subway, Wilkinson and McDonalds that already have contactless payments terminals. The company said 12.9 million contactless credit and debit cards are already in circulation, of which over 11.4m have been issued by Barclaycard

O2 confirmed that it too will launch a mobile money and payments service - under the O2 Money brand.

Due to launch in the second half of 2011, O2's service seems to go further than Orange's retail based payments solution. Capabilities planned for the wallet include m-commerce, airtime top ups, contactless/NFC payments and peer-to-peer payments. The operator will also add NFC capabilities to its existing O2 Money Visa pre-paid card service.

O2 said that its commercial and technical partners for its service would be Wave Crest, FIS, Intelligent Environments and Visa Europe.

Wave Crest will provide and operate the core banking platform upon which the new prepaid card and mobile wallet services will run. Wave Crest will also manage the security and online customer experience.

FIS will provide transaction processing and UK-based customer service for both the prepaid cards and mobile wallet. Intelligent Environments has been appointed to develop the wallet application and Visa Europe will be the payment network for the wallet and new prepaid products.