Samsung's Galaxy S III is to be the first of Orange's Android phones to gain compatibility with the operator's Quick Tap contactless payments system, run in conjunction with Barclaycard.
The 'mobile wallet' scheme has been running since May 2011, when Orange and Barclaycard introduced it on the Samsung Tocco Quick Tap, a basic featurephone. The system is based on near-field communication (NFC) technology, which is fast becoming a staple feature of smartphones, and now Quick Tap has come to the flagship Android smartphone of the day.
According to Orange and Barclaycard, anyone who buys an Orange Samsung Galaxy S III from Wednesday, and who has a UK MasterCard or Visa card, will be able to use the handset to make contactless payments of up to £20.
The operator is also giving £50 to anyone who activates the service between 5 September and 5 October.
"We are really excited to be launching Quick Tap payments on one of the most popular smartphones of the year," Orange UK propositions director Simeon Bird said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Orange told ZDNet UK that those who have already picked up a Galaxy S III from the operator should be able to use Quick Tap by the end of October.
Mobile wallet schemes
NFC-based payments have been taking off slowly in the UK, with fairly fragmented schemes cooked up by operators and banking providers.
The Orange-Barclaycard tie-in was the first. Since then, Everything Everywhere — the company behind the Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK — has announced a partnership with MasterCard, and Vodafone has done the same with Visa.
There was supposed to be a joint venture between all the operators except for Three — no explanation was given as to why Three was excluded — but that is currently on ice while the European Commission decides whether to block it on antitrust grounds.