Orange and Barclaycard have launched what is believed to be the UK’s first contactless mobile payments service, enabling customers to make purchases in shops with their mobile handsets.

More than 50,000 retailers across the UK, including Pret a Manger, Subway and McDonalds, will now accept the new form of payments technology.

The new technology, similar to MasterCard’s “Pay and Wave” format for its credit and debit cards, allows shoppers to buy goods up to £15 by tapping your phone against a payment reader.

This form of contactless technology will initially be available on Orange’s Samsung Tocco Lite, but is expected to be developed for other manufacturers handsets  throughout 2011.

David Chan, CEO, Barclaycard Consumer Europe, said: “This is the first time that customers can use their mobile to pay for goods and services in shops across the UK rather than using cards or cash.

“They’ll be able to do this, safe in the knowledge that this is a secure technology brought to them by the biggest names in payments and mobile technology.”

Contactless payments for mobile phones has always been considered the logical step following the success of the technology via credit and debit cards, and is being launched at a time when smartphones are becoming more and more prevalent.

Recent research by eDigitalResearch and Portaltech found that the number of people who have bought goods via m-commerce sites on their mobile phone increased by 20% between June 2010 and March 2011.

Pippa Dunn, Orange Vice President, said: We no longer use our mobile mobiles simply for talking and texting – apps, cameras and music players allow us to use them for a lot more.

“So, making contactless payments with your mobile is a natural and really exciting innovation which we’re pleased to be leading in the UK.”

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com