UK set for new card payment innovation

Small Business Advice 12 March 2014

A new scheme unveiled by three of the country’s biggest mobile network providers could lead to a mini-revolution in the card payment industry.

The innovation allows consumers in the UK to pay for everyday items like a sandwich or a bus ticket by simply tapping their smartphone on a card reader.

Vodafone, O2 and EE all hope that the technology will mark a new era for card payments, making the process of paying for moderately-priced services and goods more straightforward than ever before.

Companies of various kinds have been trying to develop such technology for years, but it now appears as though it’s finally ready to enter the consumer market.

And assuming it takes off in the way many tech experts expect it to, the move could become a major landmark for the payment industry.

Weve, a joint venture formed by Britain’s three largest mobile operators, has announced a partnership with Mastercard, which is creating a system that allows consumers to make payments in the most efficient way possible.

“Mobile payments are the thing that everybody’s talked about but nobody’s managed to do,” said Weve chief executive, David Sear.

“It’s been a mess. We bring scale and people with mobile devices. Mastercard is doing the same for bank customers – one infrastructure provided by Mastercard talking to one infrastructure provided by us.”

The firm is confident that its plan will succeed because its mobile partners cover such a large percentage of the consumer population in the UK.

This comes shortly after a report by Juniper Research that said 249 million cards will be used for contactless payments in 2014, adding that the move is being driven by the global migration to standards-based chip and pin, as well as increasing contactless infrastructure at the point of sale.

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