"As early as next year, customers with NFC-enabled smartphones will be able to leave their wallets at home and pay for a morning coffee, an evening out with friends, or groceries, with their handset," says the carrier's head of strategy and business development.
The Australian arm of mobile network operator Vodafone has released details of its forthcoming SmartPass NFC mobile wallet, which could launch "as early as next year" after testing takes place over the next few months.
Vodafone SmartPass will use a reloadable virtual prepaid Visa card provided by ANZ, which is also the acquiring bank for loading funds. Transactions will be processed by Rev, a prepaid payment processor that connects into VisaNet.
"NFC is fast-becoming the 'it' feature for smartphones, and for very good reason," says Thomas Roets, general manager of strategy and business development at Vodafone Australia. "As early as next year, customers with NFC-enabled smartphones will be able to leave their wallets at home and pay for a morning coffee, an evening out with friends, or groceries, with their handset."
"We want to ensure our customers are first in line to benefit from this new wave of mobile payments technology," continues Roets, adding that from next year 80% of smartphones sold on contract by the operator will come with NFC.
A pre-commercialisation phase will see an invited group of testers pilot the payments system using Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones carrying the Vodafone SmartPass app. "Over the next few months, we'll be engaging in intensive trials and testing with Visa to ensure the Vodafone SmartPass brings together the highest standards of security with the most simple functionality and convenience for customers," promises Roets.
Visa and Vodafone announced in February 2012 that they are working together to develop a Vodafone-branded mobile payments proposition that will be offered to consumers across the mobile network operator's base of 398 million customers in more than 30 countries covering five continents.