Pay using your mobile

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This story will come as welcome news for the pickpockets on Oxford Street. Over in Japan, 3G mobile phone owners can now pay for things using their mobile phones, saving thieves the trouble of stealing both your phone and your wallet.

NTT DoCoMo is offering the Felica service that allows those with compatible handsets to get cash and make payments using the 3G network. The system is based on Smart card technology, with a credit card-sized smart card (developed by Sony) holds all the necessary personal information.

Some sort of subscription to the service is required before users can start binning their wallets and special readers need to be built into cash machines and tills in order to make a transaction. Data is sent securely via the 3G network and, in a bid to deter theft, handsets can be password and even fingerprint protected.

Obviously it’s years before a similar service could ever reach these shores. The fact that the 3G network isn’t even up and running yet is partly to blame. There’s also the question of how much demand there would be for the service over here. The Japanese may see new technology as second nature, but we still know some Brits who haven’t even used an ATM machine before.

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