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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

CommBank rolls out contactless stickers

Australia's Commonwealth Bank is offering customers NFC stickers that can be attached to mobile phones and used to make contactless payments.


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Sometimes you've got to force convenience on people.

I've got a confession to make. I still sign my signature with a pen when I use my credit card.

I don't have to, and I really shouldn't. I've been writing about technology, banking and payments on and off for about 15 years. I consider myself fairly digital savvy, I like gadgets, and I went through the whole transition to Chip and Pin when I was living in the UK.

In Australia, credit cards have chips, and are issued with PINs, but it's not yet mandatory to use them (unlike for debit cards using the EFTPOS network). You can still ask for a pen and scribble away.

I use the credit card fairly infrequently and if I do use it for small transactions I can wave it over a PayPass-enabled POS terminal if the retailer has one. This is something I do every day with my debit card, and it's great.

But when I do want to use a credit card, and they don't have a contactless POS or the transaction is larger, I just don't remember the PIN.

Signing is only slightly inconvenient. But I do feel a bit embarassed every time I do it. You could say that the real inconvenience here is having to remember another PIN. But if I put my mind to it I'm sure that it wouldn't be a problem. I could even change it to something easier to remember. And once done, using the credit card would feel more convenient, and 'modern', even if the actual time saved is minimal.

The thing is, I probably won't get around to making the switch to PIN until the card schemes here force my hand (possibly by June next year). Although I can see the convenience and security benefits for myself, the retailers, card schemes and issuers, I just haven't had the kick along to make the change.

Fighting the entrenched 'good enough' behaviour of customers -- even if a potential innovation or new process is seen as beneficial by them -- is something that service organisations seeking to innovate always struggle with.

Sometimes, as in this case, the trigger can eventually be regulatory if the perceived benefits to industry and consumers alike are strong enough. Other times, combinations of juicier carrots and bigger sticks can work when a change does not have a hard mandate.

Contactless, rechargeable public transport cards are undoubtedly more convenient than paper ticketing for all concerned. But even still, to get rapid penetration, many public transport operators have been forced to structure prices differently for paper tickets vs contactless if they are maintaining both. This could be seen alternatively as a punishment for 'stick in the mud' paper ticket users, or a reward for adopting the new product.

Another approach is to first bundle a new product or capability with something that your customers are already using frequently. Generally when banks embraced chip cards they didn't do a big bang re-issue. Instead they made sure when any new mag stripe cards were issued as part of the regular replacement cycle, they also had chips. This laid the groundwork for subsequent switchover to Chip and Pin.

Now CommBank is taking this model a little further in an effort to get its latest smartphone payment products in front of as many of its customers as possible. By bundling its regular internet/mobile banking site/app with the Kaching app, it will remove at least one hurdle for its regular balance checking, transfer initiating online customers to start using a wider range of convenient financial services from their pockets. 

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Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 21 October, 2013, 16:55Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Lucky you :) Starting next month, card users in India will be required to use both signature (as before) and PIN (new). And the PIN is 6-digit :(.