National Australia Bank (NAB) is teaming with Visa and wireless operator Telstra to launch the country's first mobile payments trial which will allow select cardholders in Melbourne to pay for purchases using their hand sets.
The public trial, which begins in Melbourne in early 2008, will supply participants with a Telstra mobile phone embedded with near field communications (NFC) technology, with the SIM card loaded with Visa's contactless payWave application.
Users will able to make a contactless payment by waving the handset over a reader at participating merchants.
Commenting on the initative Andrew Thorburn, NAB executive general manager, retail banking, says: "In the not too distant future we envisage NAB customers being able to walk into a shop, give their mobile a quick wave over a reader and simply walk out with their purchases."
"As one of Australia's largest suppliers of terminals for merchants we are also excited about the benefits of Visa payWave contactless transactions for our business customers," says Thorburn. "This could not only mean less cash handling, but also faster service times and less queuing at the check-out."
Telstra group managing director, enterprise and government, David Thodey, says in future the technology could be used to hold loyalty, membership cards, marketing offers, public transport tickets and building access security cards.
"Instead of having a wallet or purse full of plastic cards, you could soon have them all supported on a single Telstra mobile phone," says Thodey.
NAB claims the initiative will mark the first public test of mobile payment technology in Australia. The Visa system is already undergoing trials with a number of financial institutions and telecomms firms in the US and Asia.