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BlackBerry trials NFC wallet in OS 7 phones

BlackBerry trials NFC wallet in OS 7 phones
Not just a phone, but a wallet too

RIM has announced that BlackBerry OS 7.0 handsets are to get a contactless payment wallet known as Telefonica Wallet for BlackBerry.

The collaboration between RIM and Telefonica will see 350 employees at Distrito Telefonica, Spain, getting a near-field-communications-equipped BlackBerry as part of the pilot project.

Local banks and retailers are partnering with the two companies to allow them to then make payments using NFC by tapping the phone against a reader.

The wallet-drain in Spain

After a (presumably) successful trial, RIM and Telefonica will extend the roll out to Spain, with "several international markets" to follow in 2012.

The NFC-enabled smartphones that are compatible are the BlackBerry OS 7-running BlackBerry Bold 9900, BlackBerry Curve 9360 and BlackBerry Curve 9380.

RIM is known for its security conscious products – to the extent that BlackBerry PlayBook users still can't access email on their slates without using BlackBerry smartphone – so it's keen to talk up the secure environment that the payment takes place in.

We fully expect the UK to be one of the markets that RIM extends the NFC Wallet to in the new year, although there's no official word or hint of timings on that.