EU push for mobile payments

Telephone operators and banks in the European Union will cooperate to let customers pay grocery, restaurant and other bills using their mobile phone.

The move is part of a wider EU-led push to inject more competition and choice into how people pay for goods and services and bring down costs for making payments from outside a home state in particular.

Operators, facing downward pressure on tariffs partly due to EU rules, are also looking for new sources of revenue.

The GSM Association, which represents the mobile industry with members such as Vodafone, has teamed up with the European Payments Council, a body that represents 8,000 banks in Europe.

Seven mobile operators are running trials for contactless mobile payments and a further seven plan tests shortly.

“Bringing more competition to the payment services market has been my aim and agreements such as this show the possibilities that new technologies and innovative approaches offer in this regard,” EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy said in a statement.

The aim is to adopt a global approach to standards used in the EU that will use Near Field Communications, a contactless technology that allows data to be transmitted from the phone’s SIM card wirelessly over very short distances.

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