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(Pocket-lint) - HTC has been coy about adding NFC to its smartphones to date, but that could all be about to change after the company, along with Sharp and ZTE, announced that it is joining the NFC forum.

The NFC Forum, the non-profit industry association that advances the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, has confirmed that Barclaycard has also joined.

While that isn’t a pre-requisite for including the technology in the latest and greatest phones, it is one of the first steps to taking the technology seriously.

The three are a handful of the 26 new companies to join the forum that works in a similar way to the Blu-ray Disc Association.

"Our newest members demonstrate the broad appeal of the work of the NFC Forum, and the variety of sectors that are represented emphasises the value NFC technology can provide to businesses and consumers," said Koichi Tagawa, chairman of the NFC Forum. "We are pleased to welcome these new organisations' participation in our work, and their contributions to the global NFC ecosystem."

Barclaycard seem very excited over the deal. They’ve not just signed up, but become one of the leading members of the forum with a place on the board.

"I believe that NFC is fundamental to the future of payments and the wider mobile experience," said Val Soranno Keating, CEO, Barclaycard. "We've been the leader of the UK's contactless payments market since launching the first cards and merchant terminals in September 2007. More than four out of five cards and an even higher percentage of terminals are still supplied by Barclays. Having established the infrastructure, we can now offer customers choice in the way they pay and, in partnership with a mobile operator, we introduced the UK's first payment-enabled mobile phone this summer. We're also working in the US and Africa to bring the convenience of contactless payments to consumers and retailers. I'm delighted that we are joining the NFC Forum, and I look forward to Barclaycard playing a central role in the advance of this important technology."

Other phone manufacturers already pushing NFC include Samsung, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and Nokia. 

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 16 April 2013.