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NFC in the UK

Contactless payments are a reality in the U.K. Wireless provider Orange and credit card issuer Barclaycard announced the launch of "Quick Tap," a new contactless mobile phone payment service.

Quick Tap is built on near field communications (NFC) technologies, and the service allows Orange subscribers to make purchases of up to £15 ($25) by tapping or waving enabled mobile devices over special point-of-sale terminals.

The announcement said more than 50,000 stores in the U.K. are already set up to accept Quick Tap payments.

"We no longer use our mobile phones simply for talking and texting — apps, cameras and music players allow us to use them for a lot more," said Orange VP Pippa Dunn. "So, making contactless payments with your mobile is a natural and really exciting innovation which we're pleased to be leading on in the U.K."

To use the Quick Tap service, consumers transfer funds from their Barclaycard, Barclays debit or Orange Credit Card accounts to a Quick Tap application on their mobile devices. Users can transfer up to £100 ($160) at a time. Purchases are then debited from their account. The application also lets customers monitor their account, check their balance or review purchases.

To attract customers to the new service, Barclaycard is offering Orange customers £10 ($16) deposited in their Quick Tap accounts upon account activation and a 10-percent rebate on all Quick Tap purchases made in the first three months.

Initially, Quick Tap will be available to consumers using an NFC-enabled version of one of Orange's most popular phones, the Samsung Tocco Lite. Additional handsets enabled for the Quick Tap application are expected soon from other manufacturers.

Along with Orange and Barclaycard, U.S.-based payment processor MasterCard Worldwide and French digital security provider Gemalto are participating in the Quick Tap effort. Purchases made through the Quick Tap service will be routed through MasterCard's payment network and facilitated by MasterCard's Paywave contactless technology at the point of sale. Gemalto is providing Trusted Service Management (TSM) services and will assist with the provisioning and management of Quick Tap accounts.

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