By Adam Ray
Wellingtonians are the first in the country to be offered phones that can pay for a bus fare or a coffee.
Touch-to-pay phones use contactless technology and are being sold by 2 Degrees in partnership with Snapper.
The phone transmits a signal when passed over a reader pad. In Wellington it can used on buses and taxis and at cafes and shops
Chief executive of 2 Degrees Eric Hertz says technologies are converging at a quick rate.
“Everybody knows your smart phone is swallowing everything, swallowing your camera and now swallowing your wallet.”
2 Degrees are the first operator to sell phones with the near field communication (NFC) technology. Their bigger rivals Vodafone and Telecom are also trialling it.
Communications Minister Amy Adams was at the launch and was happy with the technology.
“I do think it will be common for small transactions when people don't want to use their bankcards,” she says.
Apple’s iPhones are not NFC capable yet but other manufacturers have already embraced the technology.
Up to 100 million NFC phones are expected to be sold this year worldwide
2 Degrees hope to sell about 10,000 of these touch and pay phones in the next year. But the long term potential is far greater - there are 200,000 snapper card holders in Wellington alone.
The touch-to-pay phones have a maximum balance of $300 and like any phone they can be locked if stolen.