O2 has finally launched the O2 Wallet in the UK – a mobile payment system that will offer money messaging, shopping comparison and aim to begin the task of ending the need for a real wallet.
The O2 wallet is for all UK mobile phone owners – not just limited to the company's own customers – and the app is available to users of devices with iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS 6 and up from today in the usual app stores.
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O2 insisted that the lack of Windows Phone support was necessitated by resource, and that is working on an app for the Microsoft operating system along with tablet editions.
The O2 Wallet will allow people to add their credit and debit cards as well as add pre-pay and 'send' money to people.
There is also a large shopping arm to the application offering deals and comparisons from more than one hundred retailers including launch partners that include Tesco, Sainsburys, Comet and Debenhams.
Although the O2 Wallet does have NFC in its future, the company is keen to point out that it is more about bringing mobile commerce for all.
Security is obviously a key factor in the wallet, but no card details are stored on the phone and the money messaging is from a pre-pay system.
People who receive money messages can either sign up for the O2 Wallet, fill in their details to move the money into their account or reject payment.
If the message is not received in five days then the money is automatically refunded to the sender.
You can also, rather strangely, choose to share the fact you have sent a money message on Facebook – presumably so you can no longer be accused of welching on bets.
James Le Brocq, Managing Director at O2 Money, said: "O2 Wallet delivers the benefits of mobile money to more UK consumers than any other product or service currently available.
"With O2 Wallet, it's easier to transfer money, track expenditure and pay swiftly and securely, all using your mobile. We believe it will transform the way people manage their finances and spend money."
"Additional functionality will soon enable consumers to use O2 Wallet to top-up mobile airtime, buy train tickets and make mobile contactless payments via NFC technology.
"We recognise that security is absolutely key. O2 Wallet has been trialled internally for months and has undergone extensive 'stress-testing' with security experts.
"In additional to PINs and passwords, all personal details and financial data are held on remote central servers rather than on the mobile device itself.
"This, we believe, is the safest and most secure way to deliver mobile payment services."
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