O2 has launched a mobile payments app called O2 Wallet, which will compete with Barclays' Pingit service.
O2 Wallet, released on Thursday morning, is available for Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices. It can be used to transfer up to £500 to any UK mobile number, with the money coming either from a linked bank account, or from a pre-paid Visa card.
The app, which is also available as a web app for those who are not on the first three mobile platforms, also lets people scan and compare prices. This functionality has been around for some time through Google Goggles and similar services, though.
O2's service does not yet support near-field communications (NFC), the technology that is increasingly being built into smartphones. According to Ovum analyst Eden Zoller, this makes O2 wallet "comprehensive", but "essentially a mobile web and online proposition".
"O2 Mobile Wallet is a flagship, feature packed service that has clearly been designed to face the increasing threat of mobile payment services from [third party] players such as Google Wallet and PayPal, and of course other operators," Zoller said in a statement. "It is promising consumers an awful lot and all eyes will be on the service, which will need to deliver air-tight security and a seamless user experience across the multiple applications contained in the wallet."
However, Zoller questioned how O2 Wallet will fit in with the mobile payments scheme that has been formulated by O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere.
That scheme is under investigation by the EU, following complaints by companies including smaller rival Three, which was left out of the negotiations.