Approximately one million NFC-enabled smartphones are in use in New Zealand and as more and more humans become accustomed to paying via contactless terminals, those two technologies are edging ever closer. Semble, a joint venture between banks and telcos (and supported by Samsung), announced its arrival last year (and is holding a special event on Tuesday), and there are plenty of other ways to pay without using notes or coins. Now the country’s biggest bank is joining the fun with its own solution: an update to its goMoney app that will turn your phone into a mobile wallet.
ANZ’s goMoney is New Zealand’s most popular mobile banking app, with over 500,000 downloads, and the upgrade, which is set to launch later this year, will enable customers to make contactless payments with a tap of their smartphones (perhaps the app worm has turned, as it’s being launched on Android first). ANZ says 120,000 customers will meet the criteria of a compatible Android smartphone, ANZ goMoney and an ANZ debit card or personal credit card for the new mobile wallet.
“The ANZ goMoney Wallet will transform the way New Zealanders pay for goods and services,” says Liz Maguire, ANZ’s Head of digital channels and transformation. “Mobile wallet is the next evolution in payments, enabling customers to use smartphones to make everyday credit or debit card purchases – such as coffee, petrol or groceries. Our goal is for the goMoney Wallet to be the most accessible, secure and easiest to use mobile payments solution in New Zealand.”
ANZ’s projections are that one in five transactions will be contactless by the end of 2015 and that number will steadily increase, and the key benefit of the goMoney Wallet is that it will be within the existing app, removing the need for a separate app, sticker, attachment or SIM card upgrade. Using host card emulation (HCE) technology, it says the wallet will feature “the most advanced encryption technology to protect customers’ financial information”. And despite some who believed the contactless technology (generally able to be used for purchases under $80 without a pin) was ripe for ripping off, not much seems to have happened in that regard. It seems akin to the fear many had of online purchases back in the day, which has all but disappeared as e-commerce gains prominence.
Last year, Australian financial institution CUA launched an HCE (host card emulation) app and labelled it a first for the Asia-Pacific region.
As for Semble, which launched with a bang and involves 2degrees, Spark, Vodafone, Paymark and banking partners ASB and BNZ, ANZ says it “remains in dialogue” and “will continue to watch Semble’s progress with interest following its launch”.
Initially, the Semble mobile wallet will only include the ASB and BNZ cards (it planned to have some Air New Zealand Airpoints-earning GlobalPlus cards, but that marriage has recently broken up), but chief executive Rob Ellis said there are plans to extend it to include additional bank cards, loyalty cards and public transport cards in the future.
“Soon smartphone users will be able to purchase goods and services via their smartphones and know instantly whether they’re due that free coffee or voucher without rifling through their collection of loyalty cards amassed over the years,” says Ellis.
ASB and Westpac have been trialling PayTag technology, which is is basically the equivalent of sticking a smaller version of your bank card on your phone, and Westpac, which pulled out of Semble, also offers MasterPass, which claims to provide quicker online purchases.
Vodafone has also worked with Visa and BNZ to create Smart Pass, which, like Semble, it hopes to extend to loyalty cards, security passes and tickets.
Most of the mobile payment solutions so far have been fairly messy, restrictive or not enough of an improvement on simply getting the card out of your wallet and paying, but with smartphone penetration expected to grow to 90 percent by 2018, NFC a standard feature in new models and phones almost constantly with us, it’s only be a matter of time before the bank card becomes a remnant of the past.