Weve, the m-commerce venture between the UK’s three largest operators, is talking up a new partnership with MasterCard as a unifying force in a market which, according to CEO David Sear, “has long been littered with the corpses of failed payments projects”.
Sear (pictured) argues Weve can avoid past mistakes because its new NFC-based mobile payments service will reach 80 per cent of UK consumers. Through MasterCard, it will also bring leading banks on board and is keen to include retailers.
Writing in a blog accompanying the announcement, Sear pointed to a surfeit of past pilot projects which duplicated development effort and investment.
“It’s inefficient, it’s very expensive and it is fragmenting the industry at an alarming rate. Weve believes that unless the mobile payments industry takes a reality check and partners fully with the banks and retailers, we’ll be waiting for another ten years for adoption of mobile payments at scale.”
The new partnership will enable users with NFC-based smartphones to pay for purchases in locations such as shops and cafes. Planned launch is in the first half of 2015.
UK operators have previously launched this type of NFC-based payment service individually but, Weve would argue, it is in a stronger position to make it succeed because of its scale.
In addition to MasterCard, Weve is also talking to Visa and American Express, it confirmed to Mobile World Live.
“So why are mobile payments a bit of a mess? That may sound harsh, but it’s inescapably true; to date, the industry has created a level of discussion and confusion driven by a multitude of announcements that actually haven’t delivered mobile payments systems that works the way that consumers want and need them to,” writes Sear.
Under the alliance with MasterCard, NFC-based payments will be possible where MasterCard’s PayPass technology for contactless payments is accepted.