O2 news update: O2 have announced the closure of their mobile payment system O2 Wallet. The announcement comes 18 months after the concept was launched.
At a time when major credit card companies were also establishing themselves in the remote payment market, O2 launched their version of the system. This was slightly different to the touch-payment system that is now in place for small charges and demanded that the customer load a certain amount of money onto their account before being able to transfer money.
O2 have announced the closure of this service on the premise that they will be reviewing what is demanded of their customers and the service, which implies they will re-launch the system when this research has been conducted. They have also announced that they are already working with two of the other major UK mobile operators in order to develop this.
In truth of course, the application just did not get snapped up to the extent that O2 expected and therefore they have had to close. Customers who have enlisted the services of O2 Wallet have been told that they do have until the end of March to remove or spend any funds that have been left on their account.
O2 News Update
The new version which is being worked on with EE and Vodafone as opposed to just O2 on their own will allow cross-platform payments. This will be called Weve.
O2 are of course not the only ones who have attempted this type of app: the Apple PassBook and Google Wallet have also been launched and have both struggled. The general consensus seems to be that customers are more comfortable using the traditional forms of payment for small ticket items, and that includes using cards. Therefore there is little or no benefit to signing up to apps such as this.
The main problem that appears to have stopped O2 in their tracks is the timing of the initial launch – Near Field Communications (NFC) were just establishing themselves and beginning to build a little more traction. This meant that the payment-by-message system was almost outdated before it was on the market, so O2 have been forced to pull back from their role in this market.
The main mobile operators in the UK total six – O2, Orange and TMobile which make up EE, Vodafone, Three and Virgin Mobile, all of these are well established in the market. If cross-platform payment system were to be announced and all operators were to endorse it, it may be possible that this type of app be successful.
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