Samsung Galaxy S3 is Olympic phone for no-touch payments

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the official phone of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

On your marks, get set, S3! The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the official phone of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Samsung and partner Visa have confirmed rumours that athletes heading to East London for this summer's Olympiad will be issued with an S3 with Visa PayWave built in. That means they can pay for their coffees, newspapers and jockstraps with just an airy wave of their phone, without such perturbations as exchange rates to distract them from jumping really, really high and twirling ribbons around.

The phone comes with NFC, which talks to specially-equipped NFC tills in shops. The phone and the NFC terminal don't even need to touch for you to make a payment: just tap the Visa icon on your phone and hold the phone to the till.

Handy -- after all, where are the athletes going to keep change in those Stella McCartney onesies ?

Transactions over £20 require a passcode, and you can check your past transactions and account balance on your phone. As for the tills, Samsung and Visa say there will be 140,000 contactless terminals in Britain by the time the Games kick off. They also work with contactless credit and debit cards -- just look for the little Wi-Fi-like symbol on your card to pay with a wave of your hand.

You'll be able to use the S3 and PayWave to pay for things eventually, but this summer it's restricted to Olympic athletes and other lucky people in the trial.

But you're not limited to your phone or bank card for contactless payments: the Barclaycard PayTag is an NFC sticker you can slap on anything to turn it into a hands-free dispenser of invisible money.

And wireless wonga isn't the only use of NFC: check out our guide to the fascinating uses of NFC tags with your Android mobile phone . And to get into the Olympic spirit, check out our best fitness gadgets .

The S3 is the hottest phone around right now, but it has stiff competition. Check out our comparison of the Samsung Galaxy S3, iPhone 4S and HTC One X to see which world-class smart phones take gold, silver and bronze.

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Would you pay for stuff with your mobile phone? Is this a clever combination of cutting-edge technology and Olympic spirit, or just another shameless cash-in? Track your way to the comments or field your thoughts on our Facebook wall.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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