Oyster mobile phone trial hailed by users

Ticketing technology built into mobile phones could be rolled out across London after a successful trial by operator O2.

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Ticketing technology built into mobile phones could be rolled out across London after a successful trial by operator O2.

The near field communications (NFC) technology allowed users to pay for their journey by swiping their phone over a reader in the same way they would a travelcard, as well as pay for small purchases in shops.
The majority (78 percent) said they would be interested in using mobile contactless services for travel or payment in future, according to O2.

Two thirds of the 500 people who trialled the system in London from November 2007 to May 2008 said they found using a NFC-enabled handset more convenient to use than a standard Oyster card, which allows users to touch their RFID card on a reader.

Over one in five users increased the amount of travel they made when using their swipe phones, and 89 percent of respondents said they would be interested in signing up to the Oyster system for their phones.

When it came to using NFC handsets to pay for purchases in stores, customers were more reticent. Less than half, 41 percent, said they preferred swiping their phones.

In the current trial of the Barclaycard Visa Paywave system, cardholders can make in-store purchases of up to £10 by swiping their handsets at participating stores, which include Books Etc, Coffee Republic, EAT, Krispy Kreme and Threshers.

Trial participants said that while they accepted that not entering a pin number to use the service made it much faster than other card payments, they “could see the benefits” of being asked for a pin periodically, O2 said. They also said they would like to see an update to the phone application so that they could manage their accounts on their phones and view their balance.

The trial of NFC technology involved Nokia 6131 phones, with partners O2, AEG, Barclaycard, Transport for London, TranSys and Visa Europe. The survey of results was conducted by market research firm GfK on behalf of O2.

Some 47 percent said that being able to make contactless payments on their phone would influence their choice of mobile phone in the future.

In April, analyst firm Gartner predicted that NFC would help speed up the adoption of mobile payments.

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