Vodafone, in partnership with Visa, is developing a new payments system that will allow users to complete contactless payment via NFC enabled SIM cards. Vodafone and Visa have previously partnered on similar services in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany.
Vodafone is planning a consumer launch of the service in early 2015, but will likely be beaten to the market space by Apple, which is widely expected to announce its long anticipated mobile payments system Tuesday (Sept. 9).
Vodafone is working on developing its offerings with third-party loyalty card companies such as Nectar and looks to open the technology platform to banks, reports the Financial Times.
These new Visa enabled features tap into Vodafone’s overall U.K. expansion of late—travelers on the London Underground have been able to pay with Vodafone since earlier this summer and the company’s and P2P payments network is expanding.
So far, the company has enabled more than 300,000 terminal for Visa contactless payments and seen a 67 percent jump in usage over the last year.
To tap into the mobile service, customers will have to replace existing SIM cards with those that are NFC compatible. The use of the system will also be somewhat limited at first, purchases can not exceed ~$40 (£25) for regulatory reasons for the time being.
However, Mark Rietzman told the Financial Times that they hope to enable a PIN-protected method for making larger payments in the future.
“It will start to replace the leather wallet,” he noted.