Updated: Mobile payments in Australia: state of the banks

CommBank, Westpac, CUA and Bendigo enable smartphone transactions

NAB

NAB is working on mobile contactless payments for iOS and Android, but has yet to announce specific details.

“Contactless payments on mobile devices represent an exciting opportunity for NAB to meet our customers’ growing and ever-changing needs,” an NAB spokesman told us.

“NAB is working towards a secure storage solution for devices so that consumers can shop online or in-store with their iOS (iPhone) or Android devices in a convenient and secure way.”

For now, NAB supports peer-to-peer payments through its Flik app, which was recently integrated into the main NAB mobile app. The bank also enables small businesses to accept payments on a mobile device.

“NAB has long recognised the importance of small business to our business and to the Australian economy — small businesses are the lifeblood of Australian communities. That is why NAB has decided to prioritise its efforts in this area on innovative ways for mobile businesses to accept payments via their smartphone.”

Suncorp Bank

Suncorp has announced it will roll out contactless payments in its banking app for selected Android devices in 2015. In addition, the bank has said it will support Apple Pay when it becomes available in Australia.

While Suncorp in the past had held off on supporting NFC technology due to a perceived lack of consumer interest, the bank is now seeing increasing demand for a service that lets customers tap their phones on payment terminals to pay.

“Over the past 12 months, consumer demand for NFC mobile technology from our customer base has increased significantly due to improved awareness and device availability,” a Suncorp spokesperson said.

Suncorp’s move into NFC follows a trial with peer-to-peer payments using SMS and QR codes.

“We have been experimenting with P2P payments with our SMS/QR Code powered payment solution 'QuickShare', which has enjoyed great success and positive feedback from our customers since it was launched earlier this year,” the spokesperson said.

“This was a trial for us to assess the appetite for payments innovation and it was successfully embraced by our mobile customers.”

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

In June 2014, Bendigo Bank launched a mobile wallet called Redy that provides incentives to users who make payments by scanning QR codes.

The QR code approach differs from other banks using NFC. While it does not allow tapping the device against a terminal, it supports a broader number of smartphones since it only requires a camera.

To make a payment, users scan a QR code displayed on the merchant’s Samsung tablet. The user is then asked to accept the payment on their device. The app supports nearly any Apple or Android smartphone with a camera.

By paying with Redy, users receive credits called “creds” that they can spend on charities or future Redy purchases. The customer gets 0.5 per cent of each transaction back in creds, with one cred equal to one dollar.

After amassing creds, users can use the app to make a payment to a charity or elect to use the money toward their next transaction.

CUA

CUA released a tap-and-pay mobile payments app for Android smartphones in July 2014. The app, called Redi2PAY, uses a phone’s embedded NFC chip and does not require a smart sticker.

Customers can make payments up to $100. However, the CUA app only supports adding CUA Visa debit cards.

Unlike the CommBank app, CUA payments work on any NFC-enabled Android phone running on KitKat 4.4 or later.

“We are keen to extend this opportunity to those of our customers using compatible Apple phones,” said Chris Whitehead, the CEO of CUA.

“We welcome the incorporation of NFC chips into these devices and the launch of Apple Pay, which we hope will be available in Australia shortly.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags AustraliamobilewirelessWestpaccommbankNear Field Communicationsanz bankNABmobile commercebanksCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaBendigo BankNational Australia Bankmobile paymentsNFCfinancial institutionsbankmecucontactless payments

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