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Apple’s announcement of its iPhone 4S last week has dealt another blow to Visa’s plans for an early introduction of near-field communications (NFC) contactless mobile payment applications in Australia by not building the new technology into their Smartphone.Using NFC, customers in major retail outlets would be able to simply wave their mobile phone at an e-payments reader to make a purchase, ending the need for carrying multiple credit cards and entering a PIN or signature.

Only a handful of mobile phones in Australia – including some Blackberries and Nokia’s N9 – have built-in NFC capabilities. And Visa has yet to hammer out a deal involving all interested parties, including banks, telcos, payment terminal makers and retailers,

Rod Farmer, from user experience consultancy Mobile Experience, told ZDNet absence of the new technology in the major selling handset will delay plans for rapid large-scale consumer adoption of NFC payment technology.

In the US, last month’s launch of the Google Wallet application allows users of the Nexus handset to make NFC payments at suitably equipped retail outlets. But Google Australia has said it has no current plans to launch the Wallet system Down Under.

And research firm Gartner has thrown cold water on conjecture about an early NFC launch with a recent report saying it could be four years before the technology can be launched Down Under.

 

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