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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 8, August 2010, Posted On: 8/5/2010

Mobile Carriers Plan Phone-Based Payments Venture

Tim Sanford
AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, Deutsche Telekom AG, mobile phone payments, smart phone payments, MasterCard PayPass, cashless vending, vending, vending machine

NEW YORK CITY -- Bloomberg reports that AT&T and Verizon Wireless are readying tests of a cashless payment system based on "smart" mobile phones. According to Bloomberg's sources, the partnership also includes T-Mobile USA (owned by Deutsche Telekom AG).

The report suggests that the three wireless carriers may work with Discover Financial Services and Barclays Plc to conduct a trial at retail outlets in four U.S. cities.

The service would be similar to the near field communications (NFC) payment services presently available in Japan, the United Kingdom and Turkey. An NFC-enabled device emulates a contactless smartcard, using the same communications protocol.

According to Bloomberg, the people with knowledge of the carriers' venture didn't say how much merchants might be charged per transaction, nor when the trial would start.

Self-adhesive transponders also can be affixed to a cellphone or other personal article to emulate a contactless smartcard. Bloomberg reports that, in June, Citigroup Inc. (New York City) introduced MasterCard PayPass stickers that can be affixed to the backs of mobile phones to make contactless payments at about 230,000 U.S. merchants. Visa also is said to have a mobile payment system in the works.

The complete article may be found at bloomberg.com.

Topic: Vending Features

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