Mobile phone swipe hailed as a 'payment revolution'

The majority of smartphone users across the country no doubt feel lost without their trustiest gadget but your iPhone could yet become indispensable. New technology which will allow people to purchase goods with a simple swipe of their mobile phone is being hailed as a "revolution" in shopping.

Mobile phones could soon be used to pay for goods
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Mobile phone network giant, Everything Everywhere which includes Orange and T-mobile, is joining up with Barclaycard to launch the new system at 40,000 UK tills this summer, and the partnership claims that the technology will be the biggest revolution in shopping since the introduction of credit cards over 40 years ago.

Handsets will include a chip and antenna, directly tied to the owner's credit card or bank account, and will send a radio signal to a till scanner - when the till recognises the handset, it will authorise the payment and take the money straight from the shopper's account.

To begin with, you won't be able to purchase anything over £15 but banking industry experts expect that in time, users will be able buy whatever they like with their phone.

Tills are already in use, by chains such as Pret a Manger and EAT, which are capable of communicating with mobile phone handsets and the London Underground's Oyster card uses similar technology.

Gerry McQuade, chief development officer for Everything Everywhere, told the Daily Mail: "This is the beginning of a revolution in how we pay for things.

"It's a cultural shift that is as important as the launch of the personal credit card or cash machines."

That's all very well, but what about security? Consumers will no doubt be concerned at the lack of personal identification involved and the technology will surely make mobile phones a thief's most sought-after item.

The companies involved claim it won't be a problem. A spokesman revealed there would be a single contact number to cancel the "mobile wallet" and there will reportedly be the option of adding a PIN code. Meanwhile Orange insists mobile payments will enjoy the same fraud guarantees as current credit card transactions.

Barclaycard Consumer Europe Chief Executive, David Chan said "I believe that future generations will find it surprising that early this century we were still carrying separate items to buy goods and to communicate with each other.

"As payment experts, our role is to make it easier, more convenient and incredibly secure for people to make purchases and manage their money while on the move."

What do you think? Would you be happy to use your mobile phone to shop and does this spell the end for the debit card? Leave your comments below...