New Zealand Mobile Phones to Become ‘Virtual Wallets’ in Venture

New Zealand mobile phone companies plan to form a joint venture to create an application that will allow people to use their devices as a “virtual wallet” in supermarkets and on trains.

Paymark Ltd., which processes three-quarters of New Zealand’s electronic card payments, will join forces with Vodafone New Zealand Ltd., 2degrees Ltd., and Telecom Corp of New Zealand Ltd. to create a “trusted service manager” that allows consumers to make secure payments, collect loyalty points and use public transport with their mobile phones, Paymark said in an e-mailed statement.

“Over the past decade, our mobile phone has swallowed our newspaper, our map and our camera to become an essential all-in-one device,” Eric Hertz, chief executive officer at Auckland-based 2degrees, said in the statement. “The logical next step is to make it even more convenient by having it swallow our wallet.”

The service, which plans to use near-field communications technology, will allow customers to make payments by holding an enabled phone close to a special terminal in stores and on trains or buses, according to the statement. Software inside the phone will send transactions over the banking network.

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