Westpac announced a very cool trial yesterday which could see NFC payments on Android handsets coming soon. The Commonwealth bank has in the past couple of months publicly stated that they have had issues with Google in accessing the secure element of the NFC chip used in Android phones so to alleviate this issue, Westpac has decided to utilise a secure element built into a SIM card which works in conjunction with the NFC component built into handsets. The pilot will be in conjunction with MasterCard and tested on 100 Samsung Galaxy S III phones will run for three months.
Not many more details, although the application of a SIM based secure element in concert with NFC built into the phone is certainly a novel way to get around the code which Google has apparently been holding very tight to its chest. The need for NFC Payments is growing and Googles refusal to allow financial institutions access to the secure element whilst at the same time refusing to roll out Google Wallet outside the US is very frustrating to people who have used it, albeit via a hack. I have many questions regarding this technology such as the involvement of carriers in providing a SIM with Secure element on-board and will be chasing Westpac to see if I can get some further answers, I’ll be sure to update as soon as I know more.