Does the mobile payments revolution start here?

Anyone who has used Apple Pay or any other means of mobile payments in a store with any regularity as I do will know how quick and easy it is. You may also be aware, as I am, that each time I do it, many people – even the sales assistants (except in McDonalds) – still say “Ooo, how did you do that?”.

And that, in a nutshell, is the state of play with mobile payments in the UK: only I know about them. I jest of course, you guys all know about mobile payments, but many shoppers (and sales assistants) don’t. And no one seems to be doing much in any meaningful way to change that.

That is why the plan by Tesco to roll out its own mobile payment wallet, PayQwiq, is such an interesting story: it could be the fillip needed to make mobile payments mainstream.

Tesco [IRDX RTSC] has been quietly trialling PayQwiq for months with a tiny number of invite only shoppers (my invite clearly got lost in the mail) and is now going to start rolling it out across the country.

It works pretty much like Apple Pay or any of the other mobile payment wallets: you load your card details into a secure app on the device, which then uses the devices transmission and security features – and tokenisation – to let you pay at the checkout contactlessly or via the bar code scanner at the til. It also let’s you buy things online by scanning on-screen codes.

So far, so what? What makes it really stand out is that it has an upper limit on payments of £400 – game-changingly better than the £30 Apple and Android (and Payforit – the carrier billing option) limits currently in place.



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