New Media Age is reporting that UK mobile operator o2 will apply to the Financial Services Authority for license that will allow the company to roll out its own wireless payment systems without needing to partner with a bank to do so.
The license will allow o2 to become an independent financial services provider and it is highly likely that the company would release a smartphone application that can hold customer funds in a virtual wallet, provide the functionality to make contactless payments or send money to other people.
O2 is expected to release a payments application in the second half of 2011 and will also be available to non-o2 customers, a move that could set the payment platform apart from services provided by other mobile operators.
Everything Everywhere recently announced it was partnering with Barclaycard and a number of other operators are rumoured to be readying similar offerings.
James LeBrocq, O2’s MD of financial services, said, “The O2 wallet concept is about bringing the physical wallet and its contents to the mobile. Tthis can include payment cards, loyalty cards and cash. But it goes beyond paying for things. It’s really about being a house for a variety of services for customers on the go.”
The company has plans to feature its technology on retail websites, price comparison services, mobile phone top-ups, ticketing and travelcards.