Optus has just released details on a new partnership with Visa and the Heritage bank that will introduce a contactless payment system utilising NFC and the Visa payWave technology to allow customers to use their Smart Phones as a payment system. The product called m-wallet is currently in internal trials right now with an intention to launch the system commercially next year.
As we’ve seen from other providers such as Vodafone and Westpac the Optus contactless payment system will use an NFC enabled SIM card instead of the secure element installed on most mobile phones which from the Commonwealth Banks comments it appears that Google is reluctant to allow access to. Optus will provide the NFC enabled SIM card which will carry all the Debit Card information as well as an application that will load on their phones.
Austin R. Bryan, VP of Digital Communities and Ecosystems, SingTel and Optus advised that the NFC enabled SIM cards wil be protected by the same EMV chip technology found in credit cards and debit cards but the option to add a password protected pin to the application will also be available.
Visa also sees the value in contactless payments and Australia’s quick adoption rate of contactless payments with Vipin Kalra, Visa’s Australia Country Manager advising “Australia is fast becoming the world leader when it comes to contactless payments. Mobile NFC payments are shaping up to be one of the key technology trends for 2013 and Visa is excited to be collaborating with Optus to bring this reality closer for Australian consumers.”
It’s a real shame that Google has not brought their Google Wallet product to Australia despite Visa seeing Australians being early adopters of the technology, with Google Wallet seemingly not finding traction with the US, perhaps Google should look at rolling it out to more markets but in the end it is good to see other vendors stepping up to the plate to provide alternative contactless payment solutions. Having used Google Wallet I personally cannot wait for contactless payments via NFC on your phone becomes an everyday occurence.