Belgian banks and mobile operators to launch SMS and NFC mobile payments service in 2011

Belgium’s mobile network operators have joined forces with the country’s financial sector with the aim of introducing SMS and NFC based mobile payments by the end of 2011.

“The goal is to make a mobile phone electronic wallet that consumers can easily use to make payments for small amounts (up to 25 euros),” say the country’s three operators — Belgacom, Mobistar (part of the Orange group which is committed to rolling out NFC across most of its European network) and Base (part of KPN Group Belgium). “The technology used will be that of SMS technology and ‘NFC’ contactless.”

“Specifically, the new fully mobile solution will allow a consumer to not only pay for his parking, his bus ticket, drink or shopping online via their mobile phones, but also to recharge his electronic wallet without having to go through reloading terminals or computers,” they add.

“This innovative and unique new instrument is the result of close collaboration between the financial sector and telecoms,” the operators continue. “Both sectors are convinced that the development of a standard product is one of the key factors for a rapid and efficient mobile payment system in Belgium. This puts our country among the pioneers in this field in Europe.”

The launch of the new payments service is expected to take place “later in 2011”, although work seems to be very much still in progress. “Currently, we are examining how best to develop and optimize the product to make it publicly available,” the operators explain. “The mobile phone has become an indispensable tool for every Belgian. That is why the financial sector, hoping to stimulate electronic payments in Belgium, and the telecom sector have begun discussions to reach a new stage in the field of payment methods.”