Touch and go
The mobile wallet announcements seem to be coming thick and fast these days. No sooner does Google step up its efforts in the US than Orange and Barclaycard launch a new handset in their ‘Quick Tap' range.
Quick Tap was unveiled back in May of this year and represents one of a few individual initiatives designed to introduce contactless payments via mobile phones to the marketplace, and see how they fare. It's generally accepted that something as major as the mobile wallet will be a slow-burn, so we can expect to see an accelerating stream of these sorts of announcements as momentum mounts.
Quick Tap seems like a pretty standard NFC-driven contactless payment system, but with one restriction apparently designed to allay widespread security fears - you can only load up to £100 onto the phone and spend £15 at a time. This can be done from either your Barclaycard or Barclays debit card and then spent at places like Prêt a Manger, Subway and McDonalds.
The first handset launched was the Samsung Tocco featurephone, but the addition of the Wave 578 brings Quick Tap into the smartphone market - albeit entry-level - via Samsung's Bada platform. The home screen features the Quick Tap app.
"Paying with a mobile phone means never being without the right change, and always having access to funds," said David Chan, CEO of Barclaycard Consumer Europe. "That's why I believe contactless mobile is the future of payments, and I'm keen it's made available to as many of our customers as possible."
Orange hasn't specified precisely when and for how much the Wave 578 will launch, but you have to wonder how many people will be willing to pay to participate in what is essentially a public beta. Here's a pic and another helpful cartoon for people still struggling with the concept.