Oz telco Optus preps smartwatch payments

Oz telco Optus preps smartwatch payments

Australian telco Optus is planning to launch smartwatches and wristbands that let customers make contactless payments with the flick of a wrist.

In November Optus unveiled a contactless payment app that uses NFC and Visa payWave technology to pay for cash purchases below $100. Customers with an Optus post-paid mobile account can load up to $500 at any one time and make purchases of up to $100 via their phone.

However, with the service only available to people with one of 20 Android handsets with an NFC-enabled SIM, the company is trying to broaden its reach by embracing wearable technology.

By the end of the year it plans to have introduced a connected watch and wristband with NFC antennas that can be linked to any Android or Apple handset. Payments can be made using only the wearable without the linked phone nearby. When in close range, the pair sync up via Bluetooth to update the account balance on the connected watch and transaction details on the phone.

Ben White, VP, mobile marketing, Optus, says that the firm has received positive feedback from Cash by Optus users, but adds: "The biggest frustration came from our iPhone customers who wanted to try Cash by Optus, but didn’t have a compatible phone. That’s why we’re developing this wearable technology, which is designed to work on both Apple and Android smartphones."

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