Westpac tests Android contactless payments

The pilot program combines NFC and a "secure element" embedded in SIM cards.

Westpac Bank and MasterCard are testing an app to make contactless payments using an Android mobile device.

The Android pilot program combines near field communication (NFC) chips inside mobile phones with a “secure element” embedded in SIM cards, Westpac said. Users make payments by tapping their phones on a MasterCard PayPass terminal. Westpac plans to collect feedback from participants in the pilot that will inform development of the final product, the bank said.

The pilot program is part of Westpac’s larger strategy to embrace online and mobile, said Westpac head of mortgages, cards and merchants, Axel Boye-Moller.

“Currently 3.4 million Westpac customers are digital customers, 43 per cent of whom use their mobile phone to process payments online,” he said in a statement. “Mobile banking represents a significant change in the way customers and banks do business and Westpac customers will be instrumental in helping design the final application.”

Westpac is not the only bank changing the way Australians make payments. Commonwealth Bank recently revealed an Android-based payment station with a touchscreen and apps including a calculator to split bills. CommBank and others are also increasingly using Facebook.

MasterCard sees contactless payments using mobiles as the future, said MasterCard Australia head of market development and innovation, Matt Barr.

“With the number of contactless terminals throughout Australia increasing significantly, the desire from both consumers and merchants for fast, convenient mobile payments solutions is ever-increasing,” Barr said in a statement. “MasterCard’s vision of a world beyond cash is being realised as organisations like Westpac take bold steps toward a mobile payment future.”

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