Oyster phones a step nearer

2 Sep 2008 by Mark Caswell

travellers may soon be able to buy phones with incorporated Oyster travelcards,
following successful trials with Nokia and O2.

The six-month “O2
Wallet” trial involved 500 guinea pigs using a Nokia mobile phone enabled with
Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, the sort used in Oyster cards. Users
simply touched their phone against the readers at underground stations and on
buses in order for them to be “read”.

Results have
proved positive, with 89 per cent of triallists saying they would be interested
in having Oyster on their phones, and 67 per cent saying they found it more
convenient to use than standard Oyster cards. The technology also allows for cashless
payments to be made via a phone, with trials taking place through the Visa
Paywave application. Nearly half of all triallists (47 per cent) said that being able to use their mobile to make payments would influence
their choice of handset in the future.

Among the
comments by those involved in the trial, were a desire to be able to manage accounts and view Oyster and Barclaycard balances through
the application, and an acknowledgement that periodical PIN requests would
increase the technology’s security.

It is hoped the technology could be in
place as soon as next year, with Olympic officials said to be interested in
using mobile phone payment systems to create the first “cashless Olympics”.

Report by Mark Caswell

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