BlackBerry joins contactless payment race

BlackBerry says it plans to explore contactless payment this year with a view to the mobile handset brand developing the technology in time for the 2012 Olympics.

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Stephen Bates, UK managing director of brand owner Research in Motion, says: “We think this is the right direction for the future, particularly in the UK. The drive to have a contactless Olympics is quite strong and we are very excited about its potential.”

Everything Everywhere, the joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile, announced last week that it will be the first in the UK to launch near field communications (NFC) payment systems, when it releases the technology in the second quarter of ths year.

The mobile network’s chief development officer Gerry McQuade says: “This is the beginning of a revolution in how we pay for things. It is a cultural shift that is as important as the launch of the personal credit card or ATMs.”

Rival mobile brands O2, Nokia, Android and Apple have all also signalled they will launch the technology this year.

The Internet Advertising Bureau’s mobile manager Alex Kozloff says marketers need to ensure their mobile sites are fully-optimised in time for the introduction of NFC in the UK as the technology will mean more consumers will be using their mobiles to search for brands.

She adds: “Every marketer needs to look at their mobile strategy; there are still some major brands that do not have mobile-optimised websites, which means consumers could have bad brand experiences.”

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