Mobile phones are the future of wireless payment, Visa USA 's chief executive John Philip Coghlan said this week. Speaking at the CTIA wireless show in California, Coghlan said: "I think the mobile device is simply the most promising new form of payment system available today".

In Japan and South Korea, some mobile phones already come fitted with a chip which acts as a debit card. To pay for an item, shoppers simply swipe their mobile over a reader which deducts the cost. Typically, the phone can be 'charged' by transferring money from the user's bank account to the phone.

In the UK, however, mobile phone payment systems are a long way off. "While we have no plan to introduce mobile phone payments into the UK in particular, we are trialling contactless payments," Visa Europe spokesperson Rachel Thomas told Tech.co.uk.

"Mobile phone payments will happen in the US first. It'll certainly happen here, it's just a case of when."

Contactless payment cards are similar to the Oyster card s used by Transport for London , and to the technology used for mobile phone payments: you put money onto the card and are charged via the card for each purchase you make.

Visa Europe is currently taking part in a contactless payment card trial with Barclays Bank and Transport for London. If successful, the card will be introduced to Barclays' customers and will double as an Oyster card for travel around London. It would only work for small items - a cup of coffee or a newspaper - with a maximum spending limit of £10.

In similar news, Manchester City football ground is trialling a mobile phone payment system. Some 200 season ticket holders are using Nokia 3320 handsets containing a special chip which deducts money for purchases they make.