Orange UK Launches Prepaid Contactless Payment Card

Mobile operator Orange UK has launched one of the first contactless prepaid payment cards–with the application also likely to be available on NFC phones later this year.

The Orange Cash cards will carry a MasterCard PayPass application and will enable cardholders to tap to pay for purchases of £15 (US$24.15) or less without entering PIN codes. There are about 40,000 merchant locations that accept PayPass and Visa’s contactless application, payWave, in the United Kingdom.

Orange Cash users will earn points by using the card, which they can redeem for airtime, text messaging or Orange shop vouchers.

Orange UK, is part of the Everything Everywhere joint venture with T-Mobile UK. But Orange UK, which is a branch of the France Telecom Group, is apparently rolling out the prepaid payment program without T-Mobile. It is partnering with UK-based prepaid payment service provider PrePay Solutions, partly owned by MasterCard, which will issue the cards.

The Orange Cash launch follows the successful rollout of two noncontactless prepaid cards by rival mobile operator Telefónica O2 UK with a banking partner. O2 recently disclosed its intention to apply for an e-money license with UK regulators and plans to issue its own prepaid cards. It probably will partner with Visa Europe for these new prepaid cards.

Orange UK in early 2010 launched a contactless credit card with banking partner Barclaycard, part of Barclays bank.

Orange and Everything Everywhere with Barclaycard plan the first launch of NFC services in the United Kingdom, around June. A MasterCard PayPass credit application issued by Barclaycard is expected to be one of the services.

But NFC Times has learned there might be a prepaid payment application available for the NFC mobile wallets in the phones. That is likely to be the Orange Cash application.

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