UK banks Natwest and RBS have announced that contactless payments are coming soon to the Apple iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S, in the shape of a new service called TouchPay.
Announced today, TouchPay is similar to Orange’s Quick Tap equivalent, enabling users of Apple’s fourth and fifth generation handsets to make easy, wireless payments using a specially designed ‘iCarte’ case with built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) support that works with a dedicated app.
Customers can pay for transactions of up to £20 by simply waving their handsets over a terminal at participating retailers, including McDonald’s, Pret A Manger, Subway and EAT.
The payment is debited straight from their current account by Visa, with details of transactions available to view right on the app.
The service is currently in trial stage with 1,000 mobile banking customers, but is expected to launch more widely soon.
"Touchpay has proven incredibly popular and shows that our customers want more flexible and convenient ways to pay," said Ben Green, head of Mobile at RBS.
"Delivered alongside our updated mobile apps, the Touchpay service means that our customers need only carry their smartphone with them to make payments and manage their finances wherever they are."
Although it’s not been announced yet, we expect a case to become available for the iPhone 5, too, eventually, which will no doubt please owners who are upset at Apple’s snub of NFC once more.
"A key industry challenge in bringing mobile contactless payments to consumers is finding ways to enable existing smartphones that do not offer NFC technology," added Sandra Alzetta, SVP and head of Mobile at Visa Europe.
"Services like Touchpay show how NFC-enabled accessories for smartphones can deliver the future of payments today and help hasten mainstream adoption."