The operator, which initially said it was planning to launch O2 Wallet in the “second half” of 2011, is choosing to take extra time trialling the service internally before opening up consumer trials and a subsequent public launch.
O2 Wallet is currently being trialled by more than 300 O2 employees and this is thought to increase to about 500 staff in the coming weeks as the app becomes compatible with more devices and other O2 services such as its loyalty programme Priority Moments.
An O2 spokesman says: “We’ve decided to take extra time trialling the service internally before opening it up to customers. This will ensure that when we launch, the service will be as appealing as Priority Moments has been.”
Priority Moments customers have redeemed more than £5m in savings since its launch in July, according to O2. Its success has led to the company creating its first dedicated team for Priority Moments as O2 looks to further expand the proposition this year.
The O2 Wallet aims to bring the contents of the physical wallet, including payment, travel and loyalty cards to the mobile phone, as well as extra services such as the ability to compare the price of items, special offers from “120 retailers” and ticketing.
O2 now has more than 250 staff in its Money division, which operates O2 Wallet as well as insurance services. This is an increase from 30 people a year ago when the department primarily looked after its Cash Manager and Load & Go cards, which closed in November in preparation for the launch of O2 Wallet.
Rival operator Everything Everywhere launched its “Quick Tap” contactless payment service in partnership with Mastercard in May, while brands such as Google and Vodafone are also expected to launch similar wallet services in the UK in the coming months.