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Retailers sign up to NFC m-commerce plans

03 February 2011 - 14:19 by Mike Price

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Various UK retailers have committed to plans being formed by mobile network operators Orange and T-Mobile, to make Near Field Communication (NFC) payments a common occurrence by the summer.

At the moment it is only Google's Nexus S smartphone which comes with the NFC chip necessary to make contactless payments at compatible till systems.

However, the networks have announced that they will be releasing mobile SIM cards with built-in NFC capabilities, as well as getting the help of major high street retailers to combine the convenience of safe shopping online with the immediacy of traditional retail.

By the time the summer rolls around it is said that more than 40,000 different shops across the UK will be fitted with NFC terminals, so that consumers can simply place their mobiles near to the surface and instantly make a payment from an account or credit card associated with their mobiles.

So far, various retailers including McDonalds, the Cooperative group and Little Chef have said that they will be working with Orange and T-Mobile, which recently merged to become Everything Everywhere.

With NFC capabilities integrated into SIM cards, it will be possible for the most basic mobiles to make use of this new payment system. This means you will not need to pay out a huge sum for a high end smartphone like the Nexus S, which has an NFC within the phone itself and it should open up the technology to a mainstream audience.

M-commerce is already growing and becoming convergent with traditional high street retail. People are using mobiles to look up goods on the internet and see whether they can get a better deal via sites offering safe shopping online or whether they should order in-store. NFC should help to bridge the gap even further.