Optus launches NFC-based mobile payments

Android 'Cash by Optus' app offers contactless payments

Optus has launched a new Android app that supports contactless payments.

The new app, Cash by Optus, uses Near Field Communication technology for payments. The app can be used to for sub-$100 purchases at retailers that support payment via Visa payWave.

The app functions in a similar fashion to a prepaid debit card and requires value up to a maximum of $500 to be added to it before purchases can be made. The app is backed by Heritage Bank.

Optus customers need to order an NFC-enabled SIM from the telco. In most cases, the NFC SIM will mean that Cash by Optus can be used for purchases even when the handset's battery is flat, according to the telco.

The app "is a natural evolution for Optus," the telco's vice-president, mobile marketing, Ben White, said in a statement.

"We’re the first Australian telco to launch a mobile payments app, and because it’s compatible with many of the latest Android devices and can be linked to any Australian bank account, we’ve got a huge opportunity to bring this technology to a lot of people."

According to Visa, more than half of the face-to-face Visa transactions in Australia are made using the company's contactless payWave technology. There were some 64 million payWave transactions in September.

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