MasterCard extending PayPass to mobile phones...

Paypass coming to a store near you

MasterCard has announced it is working with Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) to develop an over-the-air Paypass system for mobile phones.

Already launched in North America and parts of Australasia, Paypass is an RFID-enabled version of the MasterCard credit and debit card that allows you to `wave' your card at an EFTPOS terminal and charge a transaction to your account.

The system is designed for low-value transactions and doesn't normally require a PIN or signature. The idea is that you buy newspapers, sandwiches and stuff like that with the card.

At the moment, a Paypass card is issued in parallel with a regular MasterCard, but there are plans to integrate the two cards into a single supercard.

Now MasterCard wants to create a virtual Paypass card on a mobile phone using Java technology. It's early days, but I suspect that using your mobile instead of a second card, as a kind of `magic wand' when visiting retailers, will really take off.

Plans call for MasterCard and G&D to stage a trial of the as-yet unnamed service some time later this year.

Plans also call for a UK trial of the RFID-enabled aspect of the Paypass system to be undertaken by the Royal Bank of Scotland, so yours truly remains hopeful for a trial of m-Paypass in the not too distant future...