Mobile phones may replace Oyster cards


Technology that lets users pay for products and services using their mobile phone as a virtual wallet is being trialled at Manchester City's football ground this season.

Some 200 season ticket holders are using Nokia 3320 handsets containing a chip that is read by a scanner as they pass through the gates.

The technology, known as Near Field Communication (or NFC) technology, lets users buy small value tokens that are stored on their handsets until used. Nokia hopes that this technology will be incorporated into handsets next year.

NXP Semiconductors , the company behind the technology used in the Manchester City trial, also provides the technology for the Oyster card system in London.

The company believes that handsets will replace Oyster cards in the next few years. It says that the token system is safe, as the money can be deactivated should the handset be stolen. And the process of adding credit to the phone is protected by a PIN code so that a thief can't withdraw cash to the handset.

Similar technology is already being implemented on bullet trains in Japan with some Motorola handsets.