Barclaycard and network operator Everything Everywhere are set to launch the UK's first commercial contactless mobile phone payments system this summer.
The pair say they are working with unnamed handset manufacturers to enable Brits to make low value payments at the point of sale by waving their phones against specially equipped contactless terminals.
There are currently around 40,000 terminals at retail outlets across the country, including at Pret a Manger, Eat, Little Chef and, soon, Co-Op. There are also over 11 million contactless cards in circulation, the vast majority issued by Barclaycard and Barclays.
The move is part of a strategic partnership struck in 2009 by Barclaycard and Orange (which along with T-Mobile makes up Everything Everywhere) and represents what they call the "biggest revolution in payments since credit cards" 40 years ago.
The partners are using an industry backed, SIM-based approach to payments which they say will protect customers' transaction and personal data. MasterCard will provide the payment capability for the transactions with French vendor Gemalto responsible for Barclays' Trusted Service Management operated services.
Gerry McQuade, chief development officer, Everything Everywhere, says: "This is the beginning of a revolution in how we pay for things on the high street. It's a cultural shift that is as important as the launch of the personal credit card or ATMs. We're making something that's been talked about for many years a reality and very soon, using your mobile to buy a sandwich, a cinema ticket or in time, even something bigger like a computer will simply be the norm."
David Chan, CEO, Barclaycard Consumer Europe, says: "I believe that future generations will find it surprising that early this century we were still carrying separate items to buy goods and to communicate with each other. As payment experts, our role is to make it easier, more convenient and incredibly secure for people to make purchases and manage their money while on the move."