The need to carry cash - or even a wallet may soon be ended thanks to a mobile phone that can be swiped at the till to make instant purchases.
Although it has yet to go into full commercial use, after five months of a six-month trial in the Spanish resort of Sitges near Barcelona, the results of the hi-tech new payment method look impressive.
AdvertisementLocals were given 1,500 Samsung phones fitted with special SIM cards and security chips for use at 500 businesses, reports the Sun.
And more than half of users are still regularly paying by phone, with the average sale an impressive 31 euros (26.50 pounds).
The innovation is the result of collaboration between payment company Visa, mobile operator Telefonica - the owners of O2 - and Spanish bank la Caixa.
For anything under 20 euros, the retailer just keys in the amount or scans the barcode before the phone is swiped across the front of a sensor.
Larger purchases require a four-digit PIN number, which adds security should the phone fall into the wrong hands.
Phones can be pre-loaded with cash or linked directly to a bank account.
As well as being a payment system, security passes for work, gym membership or even Oyster cards for London commuters can also be added.
However there are still some major obstacles. For the system to work, the mobile needs to use a SIM card with a payment function built in, plus a supporting secure chip similar to a top-up memory card. And there needs to be enough financial incentive for the mobile operators to join in.
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