There's been talk of mobile payment technologies for years now, and the technology is gently entering the mainstream at certain locations with Visa and Samsung announcing mobile payments technology for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Also we've seen a similar use of technology involving bank cards instead of phones with contactless payments being introduced at the O2 arena in London by Barclays Bank, Barclaycard and Visa. But now we can expect to see mobile payments becoming a reality in the next few years, as Vodafone and Visa have announced today a partnership that will see the two work together to provide a worldwide mobile payments solution.
In a press release, Vodafone announced that the service, which allows people to pay for goods by waving their smartphone in front of a pay terminal, will be initially launched in Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.K. this coming financial year. The service will be open to all industries to avail of, by way of a Vodafone mobile wallet. The Group Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone, Vittorio Colao, said of the technology that:
"'The Vodafone mobile wallet represents the next stage of the smartphone revolution. It offers our customers the speed, simplicity and convenience of managing their everyday transactions with a single wave or tap of their smartphone, using innovative and reliable services developed by Vodafone and Visa – technology and providers they can trust.â€'
So we can expect to see people waving their smartphones to pay for daily goods in the coming months, with costlier purchases being made via a passcode. Vodafone say that the virtual mobile wallet will also hold "loyalty scheme points and gift voucher credits, complementing and sometimes replacing a whole class of plastic cards in the customer's wallet or purse.â€
It's an exciting development that looks set to go global with such big names behind the technology, but of course it raises concerns that if your phone is stolen, it's not just your information at risk, but potentially your bank balance. Surely more details will emerge as the technology rolls out, and perhaps in the future cards, coins and notes will become obsolete if such technology succeeds in convincing the consumer that mobile payments are safe, secure and simple.