By Wendy Williams
SHOPPING has just got easier in Spain.
Telefonica has joined forces with La Caixa bank and Visa to create a mobile phone that can be swiped at the till in a new hi-tech payment method.
The futuristic technology will allow people to go shopping without the need for credit cards or wallets.
After a five month trial in Sitges, near Barcelona, more than half of the 1,500 locals who were given the phones are still using them regularly.
The average purchase price is 31 euro and nine out of ten locals say they will use mobile shopping in the future.
For anything less than 20 euros, the retailer types in the price or scans the barcode and the phone is then swiped across the front of a sensor.
For added security measures, a four-digit PIN number is required for any larger purchases.
And phones can be pre-loaded with cash or linked directly to a bank account.
However, for the process to work, mobile phones will need to have a SIM card with a payment function built in, plus an additional supporting secure chip.
In addition, there needs to be enough financial incentive for the mobile operators to get involved.
But if the success in Sitges is anything to go by, paying by cash could be a thing of the past.