Barclaycard is to use the forthcoming pilot of the mobile Oyster transit scheme in London to launch a trial of mobile payments technology. The bank says it will credit 225 of the 500 phones to be used in the Oyster pilot with £200 worth of non-reloadable funds for making low value contactless payments at participating retailers.
It emerged earlier this week that Transport for London (TfL) has teamed with handset manufacturer Nokia, phone network O2, card issuer Visa and TranSys - the consortium which runs the Oyster card system - to develop a mobile system that will enable passengers to pay for tube journeys by swiping a mobile phone across Oyster card readers in London Underground stations and in buses.
Customers will also be able to top up their Oyster account by touching their handset on Oyster ticket machines in tube stations or at ticket stops.
Nokia and O2 have developed the NFC-enabled handset - the so-called O2 Wallet - that will be rolled out to the 500 customers participating in the trial, which will run for six months until the end of May 2008.
Of the 500 trial participants, 225 will be given a phone credited with £200 worth of non-reloadable funds that can be used to make low value contactless payments at retailers including Books Etc, Chop'd, Coffee Republic, EAT, Krispy Kreme, Threshers and YO! Sushi.
The pilot is being used by Barclaycard to assess customer reaction to a new way of buying low value items such as coffee, sandwiches and newspapers.
"This trial will ensure we can gain 'real-world' feedback on what our customers think of mobile payments, which will help us define the service going forward," says Colin Swain, head of research and development, Barclaycard.
Barclaycard won the exclusive rights to include Oyster functionality on its Visa cards earlier this year and launched a combined contactless Oyster travel and debit card, OnePulse, in the city in September.
Barclaycard says the mobile trial will employ the same secure technology as that used in OnePulse.
Last week Royal Bank of Scotland said it is conducting trials of mobile contactless debit payments technology at its Edinburgh headquarters ahead of a public pilot next year.
Staff at the bank's headquarters and at a London office will use NFC-enabled Nokia phones featuring MasterCard's Maestro 'tap and go' PayPass technology to make cash-free low-value transactions of £10 or under.