It is reported that Visa is working with mobile operators Telefónica and Vodafone in the UK, as well as banks and Android device makers, in preparation for a “mainstream launch” of NFC mobile payments, along with a cloud-based digital wallet called V.me.
Visa, which has announced plans to expand its acceptance of contactless payment, predicted that the UK will have 34 million contactless Visa-branded cards on issue and 175,000 contactless terminals deployed by the end of 2013.
Mark Austin, Visa Europe’s head of contactless, stated that contactless transactions topped 2.5 million per month in 2012 and predicted a fourfold increase in 2013, fueled in large part by such major retailers as Boots, Marks and Spencer and McDonalds supporting contactless, as well as Transport for London.
In December, the transit authority began accepting payment of fares on 8,500 London buses from contactless bank cards. Transport for London reportedly plans to expand open-loop fare collection to the London Underground and Dockland Light Railway next November.
The launch of the open-loop service on buses had been planned for launch in time for the Olympics, but was delayed, with the authority citing complexities in rolling out the service. Accepting bank cards directly to pay fares on the fast-paced Underground, or Tube, is even more complex, so delays are likely.