Yay for the UK, it's now one step closer to catching up to the Japan of last decade. Mobile carrier Orange is today launching the UK's first mobile phone contactless payment service, dubbed Quick Tap, for purchases up to £15. It works on MasterCard's PayPass system and requires you to have a Barclays debit or credit card or, alternatively, a credit card from Orange itself. Gemalto is providing the SIM-based NFC compatibility, with Samsung's entirely unrevolutionary Tocco Lite being the (admittedly affordable) launch handset. Then you just need to trust the Quick Pay app to be as secure as promised and you'll be ready to go off and use your phone as a payment terminal at over 50,000 locations, including joints run by McDonald's, Eat, Pret A Manger, Subway, and Wilkinson. A quick intro video and a more expansive press release follow after the break.
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Orange and Barclaycard transform buying on Britain's high-streets with the launch of the UK's first contactless mobile payments service

Orange and Barclaycard today launch 'Quick Tap' – the UK's first contactless mobile phone payments service, allowing consumers to make purchases on the high street using their mobile phone

Customers can make purchases £15 and under nationwide by simply tapping their Quick Tap mobile handset against a contactless reader at over 50,000 stores

Using Barclaycard's contactless payment technology, customers will be able to pay for items anywhere they see the contactless payments symbol, including shops and cafes like Pret A Manger, EAT. and Subway

Quick Tap will use a secure SIM-based approach to mobile payments, providing a single point of contact for customer care as well as ensuring enhanced payment security for customers

Orange and Barclaycard today launch 'Quick Tap', the UK's first contactless mobile payment service which allows consumers to make purchases on the high street using their mobile phone for the very first time. The landmark launch means that from today, in addition to using contactless cards or chip and PIN, consumers can simply tap their mobile phone on a contactless reader at tills in over 50,000 stores to make purchases £15 and under.

This entirely new, secure and convenient way to make payments is an evolution of how people pay and follows previous payment milestones such as the move from cheques to cards. Mobile payments will be accepted at stores nationwide including Pret a Manger, EAT., Little Chef, Wembley Arena, Subway, Wilkinson and McDonalds where contactless payments are currently accepted.

The service will be available to Orange customers who use a 'Quick Tap' enabled handset. Launching with a Quick Tap enabled version of one of Orange's best-selling devices, the Samsung Tocco Lite, the Samsung Tocco Quick Tap will be available on pay as you go and pay monthly price plans, with more handsets expected to follow from a selection of leading manufacturers. Barclaycard, Barclays debit or Orange Credit Card users can transfer funds of up to £100 simply and securely onto the handset's Quick Tap app, after which the phone is ready to make payments of £15 and under in a single transaction.

The user friendly payment app, which sits on the home screen of all Quick Tap compatible handsets, contains information such as electronic statements detailing Quick Tap purchases so customers can keep an eye on their spending and manage finances easily on the go. To support the launch, Barclaycard is providing Orange customers with £10 cash added to their account upon activation, and 10% cash back on all Quick Tap purchases made in the first three months.

Commenting on the announcement, David Chan, CEO of Barclaycard Consumer Europe, said: "This is the first time that customers can use their mobile to pay for goods and services in shops across the UK rather than using cards or cash. They'll be able to do this, safe in the knowledge that this is a secure technology brought to them by the biggest names in payments and mobile technology.

"Having a wallet on my phone has made it much more convenient to make purchases on the move and I like that it allows me to keep track of what I'm spending as I go. Barclaycard launched credit cards in the UK over 40 years ago and have been leading the evolution of payments ever since."

Pippa Dunn, Orange Vice President, said: "We no longer use our mobile phones simply for talking and texting - apps, cameras and music players allow us to use them for a lot more. So, making contactless payments with your mobile is a natural and really exciting innovation which we're pleased to be leading on in the UK. Orange Quick Tap is the first of its kind, a service that allows you to pay for everyday items just by tapping your phone wherever you see the contactless payment symbol. It's going to start a revolution in the way we pay for things on the high street."

The launch will be supported by a marketing campaign that will promote the benefits of Quick Tap through a range of marketing channels. The fun and bold creative campaign will emphasise how Quick Tap represents a radical new way for people to pay for items using just their mobile, driving consumers to start a "new movement" with contactless payments.

Orange and Barclaycard announced their innovative partnership to bring contactless mobile payments to market in 2009, and believe this will be the biggest revolution in payments since credit cards were introduced in the UK by Barclaycard over 40 years ago. The new devices use innovative NFC technology, enabling consumers to make payments in a simple and secure way, and it builds on existing contactless payment technology with 12.9 million contactless credit and debit cards already in circulation, of which over 11.4m have been issued by Barclaycard and Barclays who have been pioneers in bringing it to market since 2007.

Mobile Contactless Payments from Orange and Barclaycard have been developed and rigorously tested to ensure customers' transactions and personal data will be protected and secure, with users having the option to enter a PIN on their handset before each transaction providing an additional layer of security. The launch proposition will use a secure SIM-based approach to mobile payments, providing a single point of contact for customer care as well as ensuring enhanced payment security for customers.

MasterCard will provide the payment capability for the contactless mobile transactions. Contactless transactions on mobile phones benefit from the same 100% fraud guarantee as standard Barclays and Barclaycard transactions nationwide. Since contactless mobile payments are processed online, if a customer cancels their phone because it is lost, damaged or stolen, no transactions can be completed.