Mobile Phones - Wireless Transactions

By: Liam G

As mobile phones become more and more central to our lives, the desire to have them serve more purposes has grown. In the future, the hope is that mobile phones' will become a multi-purpose swipe card, used for nearly everything from getting into buildings to paying for lunch.

Compared to certain countries in East Asia and the US, where such technology is emerging rapidly, the UK is somewhat behind.

In Taiwan for instance, there is a system in place that allows users to use their mobiles to scan money-off coupons straight off product posters and then redeem these by scanning again at the checkout.

The technology making this possible is known as Near-Field Communications or NFC, and enables two-way communications between a tag and a reader when they're within a few centimetres. Transactions made this way are often dubbed "contactless transactions".

NFC technology isn't as widespread in the UK as it is in other parts of the world, and this is one of the main reasons we are falling behind. Also, agreeing upon a standard technology is proving difficult as there are so many companies involved, from banks to SIM card manufactures.

This however, hasn't discouraged a few companies in the UK who are currently conducting a trial involving 500 users, which allows them to use their mobiles as a cashless payment tool on London's tube system. Users will also be able to download journey information from "smart posters" on certain parts of the tube.

A subset of around 200 of these users are also able to use their mobile phones as a payment method for small goods, with a range of retailers supporting the trial.

Several mobile phones manufacturers are planning to release mobile phones with NFC technology this year, which will help incorporate the needed technology into cheap mobile phones.

Cell Phones
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