Mobiles to replace credit cards? O2 Wallet goes live in UK

27/04/2012

Mobile operator O2 has launched its much-anticipated digital wallet letting users send money using their mobile phone. The O2 Wallet is a free app to download on iPads and the majority of smartphones allowing consumers to transfer cash via their mobile, compare prices, track their spending and shop.

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The tool can be used with any phone network or bank account and enables people to transfer up to £500 to an UK mobile number ‘as easily as sending a text’ and could make issues such as splitting a restaurant bill with friends a thing of the past.

In order to access the wallet, consumers need to enter a pin number.

The wallet gives consumers text alerts about their account balances and they can also apply for a physical prepaid Visa account card to go with the service.

The Visa card uses contactless ‘tap and go’ technology, meaning customers swipe the card at payment points rather than needing to enter a pin number.

Other features of the wallet include users being able to compare the prices of goods from more than 100 online retailers and will feature daily discounts from retailers such as Debenhams and Tesco.

People can use the camera on their phone to scan the barcode of an item in a shop and then use the app to perform a search to see if it can be found cheaper online.

James Le Brocq, O2 Money managing director, said: “We believe it will transform the way people manage their finances and spend money.”

Functions for the wallet planned for the future include being able to use it to buy train tickets and make mobile contactless payments.

Sandra Alzetta, Visa Europe senior vice president of mobile, said: “This announcement is another step towards an integrated future where the way we pay reflects the full potential of these new technologies.”

The launch follows the Barclaycard Pingit app, which enables people to transfer cash using mobile phone numbers, regardless of who they bank with.

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