Oyster card in your phone: coming soon

Contactless payment in Japan...coming soon?
Contactless payment in Japan...coming soon?

UK network operator O2 has concluded a trial of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in mobile phones that could herald an era of cashless payment and Oyster cards in your handset.

According to Electricpig, the operator claimed 90 per cent of the trialists were happy with the technology, and 78 per cent said they would switch to the system were it available.

O2 says it is now looking to create handsets with the technology built in, using an antenna in the mobile and secure information stored on the SIM card.

Cashless payments

The trial included using the phones with Barclaycard's Visa payWave and as Oyster Cards, but the next step is to embed them with the financial information necessary to allow cashless payments.

"There are two main pieces of infrastructure, the secure element on the SIM, and the antenna in the device," Claire Maslen, head of NFC at O2, explained.

"We still need a range of devices from handset vendors, but the intelligence will remain on the SIM. That also means we can send updates over the air."

Apparently O2 is holding on to this technology until it has built a decent infrastructure to handle it. It is looking for handset manufacturers and retailers to sign up, and then we could see a similar system to that being used in Japan to conduct our everyday business.

Just don't lose your phone, whatever you do!

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.