CommBank and Westpac to put Australia at forefront of Mobile NFC wave

CommBank and Westpac to put Australia at forefront of Mobile NFC wave

Commonwealth Bank of Australia has released a mobile NFC-based payments application for Samsung handsets, just ahead of rival bank Westpac, which has abandoned plans for sticker-based payments in favour of a fully-fledged mobile roll-out early next year.

CBA has applied MasterCard's PayPass on the embedded secure element of the Samsung Galaxy S4 to enable customers to pay for goods and services with a wave of their device at 220,000 Australian and 1.6 million contactless merchant locations around the globe.

MasterCard and Samsung, in partnership with financial institutions and mobile network operators worldwide, plan to complete similar service rollouts over the next year, including launches in Turkey, Russia and the Ukraine in the first quarter of 2014.

CBA says An iOS version of the application will be made available at the end of January. The bank has also persevered with stickers for NFC-free phones. CommBank PayTag stickers can be ordered and activated via the CommBank app for $2.99.

Compatriot Westpac meanwhile is working with Visa to bring 'tap and go' payments to NFC-ready Android phones in the New Year.

David Lindberg, chief product officer, Australian Financial Services, Westpac, says: "Westpac has trialled the use of stickers for mobile payments but has decided not to roll them out to customers. This move puts Australia at the forefront of global payments and we expect other Australian banks to announce similar developments."

Both CBA and Westpac are building on the successful introduction of contactless debit card payments in Australia. Lindberg says that more than 50% of the bank's debit card transactions are contactless, while one in every three Visa card transactions are tapped at the till.

Vipin Kalra, country manager for Visa in Australia, says: "Australia is leading the world in its adoption of contactless payments and mobile is the next step."

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