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EE Cash on Tap brings contactless payments to mobiles

David Ludlow
3 Jul 2013
Cash on Tap
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Samsung Galaxy S4, S3 LTE and Sony Xperia SP all getting EE Cash on Tap

EE has launched its first mobile payment system, Cash on Tap, in partnership with MasterCard. The new system lets you pay for goods and services using your mobile phone and contactless payment.

The system works via an app installed on your mobile phone, which acts as a digital wallet. This app stores your card details, so you can top up your account anywhere you've got a data connection. Once you put money into the app, paying for goods is as simple as touching your phone to any contactless card reader. Any transaction up to the value of £20 is automatically deducted from your account. Cleverly, your phone doesn't even need the screen turned on for the system to work: you just tap and go.

To some people this may sound like a bit of a security threat, but there are multiple levels of protection. First, you can only access the app via a PIN and topping your account up requires the PIN to be re-entered. Secondly, the system is locked to the phone's SIM: lose your phone and you can phone customer services to have the phone and your Cash on Tap account stopped.

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With 230,000 places in the UK accepting contactless payment, including Boots, McDonald's and Co-op, there's no shortage of places you spend your digital money. We've also been told that the system will work abroad: in short, if the place supports contactless payment, it supports Cash on Tap.

Currently, the list of handsets that support the technology is rather limited. The iPhone 5 doesn't work, as it doesn't have NFC built-in. While most new Android handsets have NFC built in, currently the App is only available for the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE and Sony Xperia SP.

According to EE, this is because the app needs to be written for each phone's specific hardware and screen resolution, and different versions of Android can cause problems. There are plans to roll out Cash on Tap to other smartphones in the near future, though.

EE plans to extend the service in the future to include Tickets on Tap and Loyalty Cards on Tap, although there's no information as to when we can expect to see those services.

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