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Turning mobile phones in to wallets

The world's biggest handset maker Nokia and mobile telecoms carriers have recently agreed on a global initiative to turn cell phones into wallets. Consumers will be able to use a phone as a wallet or as an access card simply by waving it over a wireless reader--and in some cases punching a personal-identification number, or PIN, into the phone. Cingular Wireless cardholders in New York City already are testing the service that allows them to make purchases with their cell phones early this year. Consumers in South Korea and Japan have already been using cell phones to pay for things. Infact Cell phones are already widely used as electronic wallets in Japan, where more than 12.6 million consumers already have their credit cards embedded in a chip in cell phones.

Mifare -- developed by NXP, which was formerly known as Philips (PHG.AS) Semiconductors -- and Felica developed by Sony are two of the most widely used formats used for access cards for buildings and public transport as well as cell phones which double as electronic wallets.

MasterCard, is also involved in the initiative, which is cheaper and much faster than other wireless payment experiments, like those using SMS text messages. So very soon carrying a mobile phone would become almost as important as carrying a wallet

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