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Mobile Wallet Roll Out Starts With Small Change

By REUTERS, May 20, 2011, (Writing by Roberta B. Cowan. Editing by Jane Merriman)


PARIS (Reuters) - Virtual wallet technology that lets people pay for a coffee, newspaper or sandwich by swiping a cell phone at a checkout is finally set to start rolling out, executives told the Reuters Technology Summit this week in Paris.

Retailers, fast-food chains, advertisers and banks are preparing for a sea change in electronic commerce as more smartphones capable of making financial transactions are released. Many say it will change the way they do business.

Near-field-communication (NFC), the technology most likely to be used in the West, is a wireless way to swap data at short range, which means NFC-enabled smartphones can pay for goods, store electronic tickets, collect coupons or swap photos.