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Mobile-payments trial kicks off in Spain

Europe's largest mobile-payments trial is taking place in the Spanish city of Sitges, where locals are using a Samsung Touch Star device to make contactless transactions
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By Natasha Lomas on
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1 of 3 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Residents of the Spanish city of Sitges, near Barcelona, are participating in Europe's largest mobile-wallet trial.

Instead of handing over cash or a card at the end of a shopping trip, 1,500 locals are getting the chance to pay for their purchases by swiping their mobile phone over a contactless reader at the till.

The handset that participants are using during the pilot is the Samsung Touch Star, pictured above.

The device contains an NFC (near-field communications) antenna, which allows it to make contactless payments.

Unlike in a 2008 London mobile-wallet pilot, the handsets are not pre-loaded with cash but are linked to the trial participants' existing bank accounts — which means they are spending their own money and making the trial more commercially realistic.

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2 of 3 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Once the app is opened, the participant's virtual Visa card is shown inside the virtual wallet. The card is stored on the SIM, which acts as a secure element.

The other four slots in the wallet are empty for now but Visa envisages other types of cards — such as travelcards and store loyalty cards — being part of a mobile wallet of the future.

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3 of 3 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Feedback from the trial so far shows supermarkets are the most popular locations for the participants to use their mobile wallets, according to Visa and its trial partners.

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see Photos: Sun, sand, mobile wallets — Europe's biggest m-payments trial on silicon.com.

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