Everything Everywhere and Barclaycard Announce Contactless Payments Plan

Everything Everywhere and Barclaycard have announced plans to launch the first contactless mobile phone payment solution for UK consumers by “early summer”. The companies say the move will usher in a new era for consumers, offering greater simplicity, convenience and control, and that it will change the way payments are made on UK high streets.

Barclaycard and Orange, who announced their strategic partnership to bring contactless mobile payments to market in 2009, say they believe this will be the biggest revolution in payments since credit cards were introduced in the UK by Barclaycard over 40 years ago. The payment capability for the contactless mobile transactions will be provided by MasterCard.

“This is the beginning of a revolution in how we pay for things on the high street,” says Gerry McQuade, chief development officer at Everything Everywhere. “It’s a cultural shift that is as important as the launch of the personal credit card or ATM [Automated Teller Machines]. “We’re making something that’s been talked about for many years a reality, and very soon, using your mobile to buy a sandwich, a cinema ticket or, in time, even something bigger, like a computer, will simply be the norm.”

The new offering from Orange and Barclaycard will enable customers to use their mobiles to pay for goods and services at more than 40,000 retailers that use contactless technology, by simply waving their mobile phone against a contactless reader.

The companies say that the new contactless mobile payment technology has been developed to ensure that customers’ transactions and personal data will be protected and secure. They add that  the launch proposition will focus on an industry-backed, SIM-based approach to payments, ensuring enhanced security for customers, as well initially providing a single point of customer care contact. MasterCard will provide the payment capability for the contactless mobile transactions.

Contactless mobile phone payments will feature as part of the wider Orange portfolio of products, developed in conjunction with Barclaycard, which already features a contactless co-branded credit card, as well as the forthcoming contactless Orange Cash prepaid payment card. 

The move builds on existing contactless payment technology, with 11.6m contactless credit and debit cards already in circulation, of which over 10m have been issued by Barclaycard and Barclays. There are also already 42,500 live Barclaycard contactless terminals in retail outlets including Pret a Manger, EAT, Little Chef and, soon, Co-Op.

David Murphy writes:

Anything that accelerates the roll-out of contactless payments is great in my book, but there’s something about today’s announcement that I’m not clear on. Apart from the fact that a press release celebrating Barclaycard’s involvement in all this references MasterCard for its part in providing the payment capability for the contactless mobile transactions (probably a fairly normal b2b deal, but in any event, discuss…), the thing I’m struggling with is that, initially, it’s trumpeted as an Everything Everywhere/Barclaycard initiative, but thereafter, all the credit on the operator side seems to go to Orange, with no mention of  the other network under the Everything Everywhere umbrella, T-Mobile.

There seems to be, at worst, an identity crisis at Everything Everywhere, and, at best, a problem in how to reconcile the fact that there is one parent company and two fully-functioning and (apparently) still-competing daughter brands. I’m confused; I hope Everything Everywhere/Orange/T-Mobile customer’s don’t share this confusion.