The UK's three largest mobile operators have signed a deal with Mastercard in a bid to accelerate the development of contactless m-payments.

Weve, the joint venture between EE, O2 and Vodafone, said it will work with Mastercard to build a contactless platform. Under the plans, customers will be able to use their mobile phone at the till to pay for products and services.

Mastercard will provide the technology and integration services to banks and financial institutions who want to use Weve's payments platform.

The US-based financial services company said its involvement will strip out the technical and development complexity that was required for banks to sign up to m-payments.

Weve CEO David Sear commented: "By removing those barriers, MasterCard and Weve are enabling banks to focus on engaging with their mobile customers at the point of sale."

M-payments have been slow to catch on in the UK. EE launched a revamped scheme, Cash On Tap, last year after its Orange brand had its own m-payments product for several years.

Vodafone is expected to launch its own mobile wallet during 2014, while O2 decided to close its wallet service next month after a slow take up.

However, there are now 300,000 retail outlets in the UK that accept contactless payments and Mastercard said there has been a 220 percent growth in those kind of transactions during the past year.

A November report by EE found that 53 percent of 4G LTE users in the UK have made a purchase on their mobile in the last six months.

Last November, Telecom Italia and Visa Europe signed a deal designed boost m-payments in the operator's home market. 

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