UK gets first commercial NFC service with Quick Tap from Orange and Barclaycard

Consumers can use the new service to make payments of up to £15 via a prepaid cash replacement application stored on their Quick Tap NFC phone. Tag read and write functions are also available and both loyalty and transport ticketing applications will be introduced later.

Orange Quick Tap
QUICK ON THE DRAW: A colourful cowboy character is used to highlight the speed of NFC payments

Orange and Barclaycard have launched Quick Tap, the UK’s first commercial NFC service, allowing customers to make payments of up to £15 (US$24) with an NFC phone at any of 50,000 points-of-sale in the UK currently equipped with contactless point-of-sale terminals.

The service is available to Orange customers who use a Quick Tap enabled handset. Initially, the only handset available is the NFC version of the Samsung Tocco Lite but more handsets are “expected to follow from a selection of leading manufacturers,” say the partners.

The Samsung Tocco Quick Tap will be available on both pay as you go, for £59.99 (US$97.58), and pay monthly price plans, from £10 (US$16.25) a month on a two year contract. A single point of contact for customer care will be provided by the two partners.

Both Orange and Barclaycard are using Gemalto as their NFC service provider. The company is supplying Barclays with trusted service management (TSM) services, enabling the secure deployment and management of the mobile contactless payment scheme. It is also supplying NFC SIMs to Orange.

Quick Tap is launching with a MasterCard-branded prepaid payments app that lets Barclaycard, Barclays debit or Orange Credit Card users transfer funds of up to £100 at a time onto the handset’s Quick Tap app. The app will sit on the home screen of all Quick Tap compatible handsets and will contain 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”.

Although no PIN is required to make a transaction, users will have the option of entering one for each transaction to provide “an additional layer of security”. All transactions will also be processed online. This means, the partners say, “if a customer cancels their phone because it is lost, damaged or stolen, no transactions can be completed.” Quick Tap will also “benefit from the same 100% fraud guarantee as standard Barclays and Barclaycard transactions nationwide.”

To support the launch, Barclaycard is providing Orange customers with a £10 cash bonus, added to their account upon activation, and 10% cash back on all Quick Tap purchases made in the first three months. A marketing campaign promoting the benefits of Quick Tap will also take place across 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,” say Orange and Barclaycard.

A video promoting the new service has also been produced:

A second video explains that Quick Tap phones can also be used to read and write to NFC tags:

And a third video explains that loyalty, transport ticketing and other applications are set to arrive in the future:

“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,” says David Chan, CEO of Barclaycard Consumer Europe. “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,” Chan continues. “Barclaycard launched credit cards in the UK over 40 years ago and have been leading the evolution of payments ever since.”

Orange’s Pippa Dunn adds: “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.”

UK retailers already equipped to handle Quick Tap payments include Pret a MangerEatLittle ChefSubwayWilkinsonMcDonald’s and Wembley Arena.

Orange and Barclaycard first announced a strategic partnership to bring NFC payments to the UK in March 2009. In January 2011, they announced that the launch would take place in the second quarter of this year.

Next: Visit the NFCW Expo to find new suppliers and solutions