Hold, beep, ride: Semble adds public transport to its contactless payment portfolio

  • Tech
  • July 7, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Hold, beep, ride: Semble adds public transport to its contactless payment portfolio

The days of wallets being crammed with loyalty, bank and business card might soon be coming to an end. In fact, wallets themselves could well be headed for obsolecence if Semble has anything to do with it. The company has already been facilitating contactless mobile phone payments across the country, and it has now announced that it's expanding into public transport.

The expansion is part of Semble’s plan to become a one-stop mobile shop for every card in a person’s physical wallet, chief executive Rob Ellis says.

An estimated 50,000 Wellington Snapper users now have the ability to pay for public transport services with a wave of their phones.

The service is available to Spark, 2degrees and Vodafone users with an android device (Apple hasn’t unlocked contactless pay features for iPhones in New Zealand yet).

“Customers can now pay for their trip, top up and buy passes, all directly from their phone,” Snapper’s CEO Miki Szikszai says.

“This makes catching the bus, taxi or paying for parking even easier than before, letting customers get on with their day.”

This makes Semble one step closer to nationwide card domination, as it recently launched its contactless payments service in March.

Semble CEO Rob Ellis says several thousand people have been using its payment services and it only launched three months ago.

“We’re focused on replacing all the cards you carry today in your physical wallet,” Ellis says.

“We’re well on the way to becoming a one-stop shop for the digital versions of bank cards, loyalty cards, public transport cards, gift cards and vouchers.”

Recently, a survey by Smartpay quizzed more than 1000 Kiwis about the wireless payment tech and found 71 percent want more education on what contactless payments are and how they work.

Ellis says although there’s a portion of the market that is still learning about contactless payments, most are embracing the technology in a big way.

“When you look at the growth of how many people are using contactless generally, although more so at this stage with physical plastic cards, there’s been over 40 million contactless payments made to the value of over $1.4 billion dollars,” Ellis says.

“More and more retailers are offering this capability. Kiwis are well and truly ready to embrace it.”

Security was also the factor survey respondents felt most concerned about.

Ellis says the security used for contactless payments is the most secure solution in the world today, unlike mag strip cards.

Those unfamiliar with mobile wallets can see how the process works in the infographic below:



Ellis says if retailers have a wireless terminal, the capability for mobile payments is already there as they work the same as a contactless card.

Like contactless cards, he says a mobile wallet is all about speeding up and simplifying the process.

“It provides full convenience,” he says.

“People increasingly have their smartphone on hand, as 75 percent of kiwis have a smartphone, so it’s easy to whip it out and make it payment.”

He says over time there will be also the benefit of using Semble as a marketing channel, as it plans to expand into loyalty systems and offer location-based offers, coupons and vouchers.

Ellis says this will be available in the coming months.

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