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Quick Tap opens up

U.K. wireless carrier Orange announced that it is now offering subscribers the Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone as the first Android device to feature its Quick Tap mobile contactless payment technology.

Quick Tap is Orange's tap-and-pay product offered in partnership with Barclaycard. Orange subscribers can load money securely onto their handsets and then pay with their phones at more than 100,000 retail locations nationwide using the Quick Tap app.

Along with adding a new device, Orange is also making Quick Tap available to subscribers who are not Barclaycard customers. When initially launched, Quick Tap could only be loaded using Barclaycard accounts. Users of the app can now load their accounts using any U.K. MasterCard or Visa debit or credit card.

"Barclaycard is committed to making paying for things faster, safer and easier," said Barclaycard head of digital payments, Tom Gregory. "With the launch of Quick Tap payments on the Samsung Galaxy SIII, Barclaycard is bringing a safe and secure new way to pay to customers of all U.K. banks."

Gregory said Barclaycard has seen ever-growing numbers of people using contactless to make quick and secure payments.

Quick Tap was launched in May 2011 as the U.K's first mobile payment method. The service uses near-field communications to enable "tap-and-pay" at restaurants and retailers that include McDonalds, Subway and M&S. Users can make purchases up to £20 ($30) simply by waving their phones over contactless point-of-sale terminals.

Funds for purchases are deducted from prepaid Quick Tap accounts. Account holders can load up to £150 ($240) at a time. The funds are accessed through the Quick Tap app, which is secured behind a PIN. Users can also track account information, balance and purchase history through the app.

Orange said the Samsung Galaxy SIII with Quick Tap will be available beginning September 5. To sweeten the deal, Orange is offering £50 ($80) to customers who activate a Quick Tap account in the next month.

"We are really excited to be launching Quick Tap payments on one of the most popular smartphones of the year," said Simeon Bird, Orange U.K.'s director of propositions. "Contactless mobile payments are a secure and convenient alternative to cash and cards and we are pleased to be the first network brand in the U.K. to offer its customers such an innovative service."

Orange is France Telecom Group's wireless brand. In the U.K. it's a part of Everything Everywhere Ltd., the country's largest communications company, with 28 million customers and 720 retail stores.

Everything Everywhere is actively pushing mobile payments in the U.K. Just last week, it announced a five-year agreement with MasterCard to develop mobile and digital payment solutions exactly like Quick Tap. It's also part of a joint venture with O2 and Vodafone dubbed "Project Oscar," which aims to create a single entity to drive mobile payments and commerce in Great Britain.

For more stories like this, visit the Contactless/NFC research center.

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