Telco-Led NFC Payments Continue as Niche Market, but Growth Prospects Uncertain

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Orange in Spain is the latest telco to announce the launch of a co-branded mobile-payments service using SIM cards and NFC phones, one of about 15 or so operators to launch globally so far. But it remains to be seen how many more will follow suit.

The model, a co-branded or branded prepaid payments application that consumers can load with such funding sources as credit and debit cards and banking accounts, has been tried by branches of four major telco groups in Europe: Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telefónica, among others, and remains one of the few–and sometimes the only–applications rolled out by Europe’s SIM-centric mobile operators for their much anticipated NFC services. 

The services haven’t yet taken off with consumers, however. And given the growing number of options for mobile payments–including banks planning to offer payments via apps using host-card emulation, as well as the expected expansion of Apple Pay and the forthcoming launch of Samsung Pay–the telco-led services seem destined to remain a small niche market. 

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