A new pilot program from Westpac and MasterCard now allows shoppers with android handsets to substitute credit cards with their mobile phone at the cash register.
NFC has just arrived, but is it here for the long haul? If you ask Westpac and Mastercard, who have just launched their own version of Google Wallet, NFC is here to stay.
The pilot project – a collaboration between Westpac and Mastercard – is called the Android Mobile Contactless Payment program and allows shoppers with Android handsets to make smoother, frictionless payments in-store.
The swift, tap-to-buy functionality means participants only need to tap their phones on a contactless NFC MasterCard PayPass payment terminal at the point of purchase. A secure element is embedded in the SIM card of the Android handset, which stores the user’s debit card information and works together with the user’s virtual Debit MasterCard on the phone.
The three-month pilot program will utilise the tens of thousands of existing MasterCard PayPass terminals that are currently being used in Australian stores, including Coles and 7-Eleven.
According to Westpac’s Head of Mortgages, Card and Merchants, Axel Boye-Moller, Westpac is committed to embedding mobile payments into all aspects of its core business, and has been investing substantially to improve customer experience.
“Currently 3.4 million Westpac customers are digital customers, 43 per cent of whom use their mobile phone to process payments online,” Boye-Moller said.
“The pilot enables simple mobile payments for purchases and reflects our approach towards progressive payment solutions for our customers.”
While the launch of the program is a significant milestone for the mobile payment landscape in Australia, the adoption of similar mobile payment technologies around the world, such as Google Wallet, has been rather slow.
One of the primary concerns with mobile payment technologies using NFC, understandably, is security.
However, according to a spokesperson from Westpac, the technology behind the Android Mobile Contactless Payment program is backed by complete MasterCard EMV security standards, meaning it is equally as secure as using a standard credit card.
MasterCard Australia’s Head of Market Development and Innovation, Matt Barr, is certain that it won’t be long until the wallet, as we know it, will change for the better.
“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.
The Android Mobile Contactless Payment program will aim to produce valuable feedback from its users over the next few months, which will the be integrated into a final, tailored mobile payment offering.