The UK’s leading mobile phone companies have been given permission to team up together on a digital wallet scheme called Project Oscar .The go ahead from EU red tape gulators means Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone will jointly develop the product. 3 is not involved.
The firms said they now aimed to release a unified smartphone based service offering an alternative to cash, credit cards and loyalty cards.
Barclaycard, Visa, Paypal and Google are among those comapnies who are building rival schemes.
The mobile operators said in a statement: “It will give consumers a simple and secure shopping experience, allowing them to purchase goods and services using their handsets in physical locations such as shops, using contactless technology, as well as online.”
The three participating operators said the plan would make it easier for retailers and others to offer discounts and other incentives without the need to issue paper coupons or plastic account cards.
The firms had originally hoped to have the service running in time for the London Olympics, but the EU had wanted to check it would not hinder competition.
Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere have now said they intended to create a new company and begin hiring staff “as quickly as possible”, but did not issue a target date by which they hoped to launch a product.
The importance of the winning smart phone payment system battle will be huge to the winners as finance companies and retailers all want a slice of a very profitable pie.