O2 Wallet launched in April 2012, backed by a multimillion pound marketing campaign as the company looked to steal a march in the UK on rivals such as Google and Barclays with an app that offered money transfer and a shopping comparison tool.
The mobile operator says since then there have been “a number of developments in the financial services sector and also within Telefonica”, which led to its decision to withdraw O2 Wallet.
One such development includes last year’s formation of Weve, the mobile advertising, payments and loyalty joint venture between O2, Vodafone and EE.
Weve is currently developing a mobile loyalty app that will give users a single point of access to their various store cards via their smartphones due for launch early this year and is also understood to be exploring the creation of a cross-operator mobile payment service – although it is not clear when or if there is a launch date in mind.
Another development in the past 18 months was the announcement in July that O2 parent Telefonica had formed a global mobile money partnership with Monitise. Under the deal, Monitise has taken a lead role in the development of a global technology platform to support payment and mobile commerce services, with the initial focus of the partnership located in the UK.
An O2 spokesman says mobile payment technology is an “important part” of Telefonica’s global strategy and that it intends to “reinvest in other m-commerce opportunities in the future”.
O2 today (9 January) began sending emails to customers to inform them of O2 Wallet’s closure, which will happen on 31 March.
O2 Wallet users must withdraw or spend funds in their O2 Wallet account by that time. If users do not spend their O2 Wallet funds it will be transferred to that user’s bank account or O2 will send a cheque to their registered address by April 2014.