Programmatic Lunch

Vodafone Launches Mobile Wallet

Kirsty Styles

VodaVodafone has launched an NFC-enabled wallet platform, built to quickly enable other providers to add travel, loyalty and gift card apps.

The wallet has initially gone live in Spain pre-loaded with Vodafone SmartPass, a prepaid app created with Visa to enable people to use their NFC handset to pay at contactless terminals. The user’s financial details are stored within the SIM card, with the promise that they can be wiped remotely if the handset is lost or stolen.

The service will initially be compatible with Samsung, Sony and HTC handsets, but Vodafone is set to aggressively expand this range next year. Non-NFC handset owners can order a tag to attach to their phone. The platform will go live in Germany and the Netherlands next month, with the UK and Italy set for spring 2014.

It is not clear what the launch of the Vodafone Wallet will mean for the Weve JV with O2 and EE– Vodafone put its name to the project back in February this year and plans for a wallet are supposedly still in development. Vodafone says it is working with major European banks to integrate their card portfolios into the wallet, presumably independently of its UK network rivals.

The platform, created by CorFire, has been built on the GlobalPlatform1 open standard, which means banks, retailers and transport companies should be able to easily create compatible apps.