Vodafone announced that it would bring its NFC mobile payments app to the UK to coincide with the role out of open loop contactless card acceptance on the underground. Already accepted on buses, replacing the time consuming cash, the contactless debit cards will be able to be used alongside the pre-existing Oyster closed loop system.
Transport for London (TfL) has been heavily marketing its adoption of NFC and it makes sense for Vodafone’s effort to try gain some speed in the slipstream.
One blunder Vodafone has made is not to make use of the inbuilt NFC capabilities of many Android devices, requiring customers who already have an NFC enabled machines to apply a gawdy sticker blaring the SmartPass name and logo – something that will almost certainly put off a significant proportion of the market whose £500 smartphones are as much of a fashion accessory as they are an utility device.
This kind of thing is not going to stop Vodafone though, Vodafone has big plans for the service. When SmartPass launched in the Netherlands in March CEO of Vodafone Netherlands, Rob Shuter, said: “Within five years we anticipate that Dutch people will use their phone as their primary payment device. Today, we have taken an important step in making physical wallets superfluous, which is one of our driving ambitions for the future.”