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UK's first touch-to-pay mobile phone launched today (for a chosen few)

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Orange customers are the first to be able to pay for goods using their mobile phones - assuming you also are a customer of Barclaycard and have a Samsung Tocco Quick Tap handset.

So not the broadest roll-out yet, but it's a good start for something we've been eagerly waiting for. More of us should be able to enjoy the service as well, as other handsets and networks follow suit to offer touch-to-pay services. With Orange, users can pay for items costing less than £15 by swiping the handset onto readers, which activates an NFC (near-field communication) chip.

Apple is rumoured to be planning this function in the next iPhone, with other manufacturers also thought to be planning this for rollout within the next six months. But the lucky ones in possession of the Barclaycard-Orange-Samsung combo can start today - loading their handsets with up to £150 through an app on the phone. The system will check the transaction against your account and run a daily tally.

Having said that - as the "wave and pay" function is incorporated into the SIM card and not the handset in this case, it should be possible to remove the SIM and put it into a different handset and it should still work.

About 50,000 shopping outlets in the UK will accept this type of payment, including McDonald's and Pret a Manger, but this is likely to increase as more mobiles are equipped with the technology.

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