AMSTERDAM LG Electronics (066570.KS) plans to launch a swipe payment system for product and service retailers in Europe next year, which would allow consumers to make payments at the check-out using their smartphones.
"The point-of-sale technology, which will be targeted at small and medium-sized businesses and will involve NFC or near field communications and cloud computing, is currently in beta testing," Jin-Yong Kim, vice president for business solutions at LG's Home Entertainment division, told Reuters in an interview.
"The plan is to launch it in Europe in 2012," he added.
Near-field communication chips, which exchange data between electronic devices at short distances, are being integrated in new generations of smartphones and tablet computers.
The technology will allow shoppers to swipe their hand-held device over an electronic reader at the check-out to directly pay for goods and services from their bank account.
Analysts Frost & Sullivan have said they expect that by 2015 there will be more than 860 million NFC-enabled mobile phones in use and that the NFC technology will be the most-used solution for mobile payment.
The smart phone market is becoming increasingly important for mobile phone and TV maker LG, which reported a record fourth-quarter operating loss this month but expects to report a first quarter profit by its entry into the high-end smart phone market.
Kim declined to give further details about the company's point-of-payment equipment for mobiles, but added that it will also be integrated into the other LG systems its business customers use including interactive TVs and security systems.
He said LG's business customers operate in the hospitality, retail, corporate, transportation, education and public sectors.
(Editing by Greg Mahlich)