Mobile payments technology that allows shoppers to use their mobile phone to buy goods will be available to consumers in the spring.
PayPass has been used by Orange and Barclaycard since May 2011, but users must own a Samsung Tocco phone as well as hold a Barclaycard, Barclays debit card or Orange credit card for it to work.
Boku's near-field technology means any mobile phone user can use the PayPass system, with mobile phone networks sending customers a sticker to put on their existing phone, which will conduct the transaction. Boku said networks will be able to supply customers with a Mastercard if they do not have a bank account, or if stores are not operating NFC readers.
Customers will also get a smartphone app, compatible with iPhones and Android devices, that tracks spending and allows the transfer of money to other Boku account holders, as well as delivering special offers and discounts from retailers to phones.
The system will be marketed to UK consumers by mobile network providers rather than Boku, but James Patmore, a spokesman for the firm, admitted so far no UK mobile companies had signed up to the scheme.
He said: "I am confident Boku will reach agreements with all the major UK mobile phone networks in the second quarter of the year. We already have agreements with all French and German operators and have been trialling the service with a major mobile carrier in the UK".
Boku will be launching into an increasingly crowded marketplace. The mobile payments industry, forecast to take off in 2012, has already seen Barclays launching its Pingit service, which allows UK current account customers to send and receive cash through their mobile phones. And the UK Payments Council said its own scheme to make sending cash via mobile phone "as easy as texting" will be in place this year.
Consumers who register for the Payments Council service will have their mobile and account numbers linked on a central database, and the initiative will be available to banks and building societies before the end of 2012
Last year, Visa, along with Telefonica (owner of O2) and Spanish bank La Caixa, successfully trialled the use of contactless payments using the latest mobile handsets. Across Scandanavia, consumers are using the Ukash electronic cash payment method at online retailers.