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Posted by Tom Cheesewright on


Another slot on the beeb this morning, commenting on Manchester City FC’s plans to introduce contactless payments through mobile phones. If you have ever used an Oyster card on London Transport you get the idea. Instead of a paper ticket you just wave your mobile phone at a sensor on the gate.

The concept of combining NFC with mobile devices is not new. DoCoMo in Japan has been at it for a couple of years now, enabling people to shop, and pay for taxis and vending machines with a wave of their ‘Osaifu Keitai’ (mobile wallet). Given the importance people place on carrying their mobile phone (33% would be more concerned about losing their wallet or even their wedding ring according to a survey from Nokia), it seems likely that the mobile phone will be widely adopted as a form of payment.

This presents certain issues. Security for a start: constantly getting your shiny handset out and waving it around is tantamount to asking to be robbed according to the UK police.

The more functions your mobile combines, the more valuable it becomes and the more painful losing it will be. At the moment when you lose your credit card, you generally use your mobile to call it in. What happens if your mobile is your credit card? Not only will people have your card information, they will more than likely have all the information they need to steal your identity.

Culturally there are some barriers to overcome too. One of the producers of the show pointed out that people love to collect tickets as souvenirs of gigs or special journeys. Once it is all electronic that will come to an end. But given that by then all phones will be capable of capturing high quality video, audio and stills by then, there will probably be enough digital souvenirs to satisfy people.

Now we just need to work out a way to pin videos to a corkboard on the wall.

At some point I’ll cover the more ‘Big Brother aspects of this technology, and why it is appealing to marketeers…

Tom Cheesewright