Apple market share forces Suncorp Bank to eschew NFC for QR codes

Apple market share forces Suncorp Bank to eschew NFC for QR codes

Summary: Suncorp Bank has chosen to use QR codes over NFC technology for simplicity as part of its new QuickShare feature of its mobile banking app, citing iOS market share as a reason to avoid contactless NFC technology.


Suncorp Bank has introduced a new feature to its mobile banking app called QuickShare that allows its customers to share their account details through SMS or QR code to be paid by both Suncorp Bank customers and non-Suncorp Bank customers.

QuickShare — launched last weekend for Android and iOS smartphone users — allows Suncorp Bank mobile app users to share their account details along with how much is owed to them through a virtual IOU via SMS to any contact on their phone. The recipient can then copy and paste the details sent to them into their banking app to pay back the sender.

The feature also allows Suncorp Bank customers to be paid in real time by other Suncorp Bank customers, by using their app to generate a QR code along with a payment request, which the payee scans to have the transaction populate within their account to approve.

Suncorp Bank's head of online Simon Clarke explained to ZDNet that QuickShare has been designed to make the mobile banking experience even simpler, and believes the use of QR code can reduce that complexity.

"The main reason we've used [QR codes] is purely because of the standardisation. With NFC, ourselves and like a lot of other banks have looked into it and it's a very complex piece of technology, and ultimately still in its infancy, especially in terms of cross platform usage," he said.

"We were a bit hesitant to go too far down the NFC path because we wanted to have something that had a high reach and was simple to use. Building this particular feature into the app and all other features is all about simplicity and usability that drives a lot of our work.

"So with QR code it has been out there but it hasn't really been used from a financial standpoint; it has only been used for marketing. After some brainstorming, the development team looked at all the bits and pieces that could be used and the QR code was a very clean way to get that cross platform usage."

Suncorp Bank, however, is not the only one relying on QR codes. As part of a recent partnership with Samsung, Bendigo Bank chose to use QR codes as part of its retail point of sale mobile payment solution, redy

But Clarke highlighted that the use of NFC technology is not being ruled out completely, although for now it's about meeting the demands of its customers.

"In terms of iOS, it still rides a lot of the market share. We've got just under 70 percent of our bank based on iOS, which makes it quite interesting for other banks to pursue contactless payment when you've still got massive market share of iOS," he said.

"Whilst we're not completely waiting around for iOS to develop that kind of technology, it does make a huge difference on building features that can be rolled out simply across all platforms."

Clarke also said it's important to continue to work on the design of its mobile banking experience, particularly as the momentum of mobile banking continues to strengthen, where for the first time last year the bank saw mobile banking outstripped desktop banking. Currently, 57 percent of Suncorp Bank customers complete online banking via mobile.

Suncorp Bank relaunched its banking app December last year and since achieved 156,000 downloads. However, Clarke notes that going forward all of its channels are equally important.

"We're seeing very strong growth with our mobile app base which we're really ecstatic about," Clarke said.

"Going forward we're putting a lot of effort into developing our mobile channel, but that said, we're still paying a lot of attention to the omni-channel platform experience, especially in banking where customers often start on a desktop, and then go on a phone, and then they've got their tablet on the couch. We still need to make sure from a general customer experience perspective we can target all platforms."

The launch aligns with Suncorp Bank's announcement in May when it said it will be dedicating an estimated AU$270 million to changing the bank's core banking system by 30 June 2016.

"We've done a lot of great work, to decouple ourselves and all the backend niggles you get so going forward we're going to have a much cleaner architecture in our core system. It will even accelerate our development faster when it comes to front end and customer facing channels."

Topics: Mobility, Apps, Banking, Australia


Since completing a degree in journalism, Aimee has had her fair share of covering various topics, including business, retail, manufacturing, and travel. She continues to expand her repertoire as a tech journalist with ZDNet.

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  • pure genius

    Summary: Apple market share forces Suncorp to eschew (tech that Apple doesn't support) in favour of (another tech that Apple doesn't support).

    Pure genius.
    • and in doing so

      Gives Apple another excuse to not support standardized technology instead of the ipropriatary stuff they keep doing...

      Or put another way - and the loosers are - consumers.
  • I knew this blog would upset Android backers.

    It is strange, however, that this particular financial institution "blames" a lack of NFC support on iOS market share since, as we all know, Android commands over 80 percent world wide market share - or at least that is the stat Android fanboys love to cite.
    • actually

      The article says just under 70% of their users are on iPhone. The market shares in Australia are closer to a 50/40 with everyone else making up the rest (the largest of which is WP) - at least that was the last set of figures I saw (and Android wasn't the 50 :) ).

      Still, if the bank wanted mobile banking to be a differentiator for them then why didn't they support both? NFC for everyone with phones that support it and QR for those who don't.
    • Why would you think that?

      NFC is on very few Android phones at this point, and of those that have it (yes, mine does), few have apps that use it, whereas every phone has a camera that can read QR codes.

      Plus, put a cover / battery extender on your Android and you've just shielded the NFC.
  • Are QR Codes the best method?

    I wonder what sort of information will be in the QR Code. Kind of reminds me of the "stolen" bitcoin that occurred on live TV when a news presenter gave other presenters gifts of bitcoin ... stored in a QR Code ...
  • Wow... this is one of the least critically thought out articles I've seen

    Ok. Let's deconstruct here a bit.

    QRCodes are widely used and have been so long before NFC showed up on smartphones. They have one huge advantage over NFC - they cost NOTHING to make and any device with a camera can read them. No special hardware needed.

    NFC, on the other hand, not only requires specialised hardware - which isn't exactly common on Android devices - iOS aside - and worse, Google just made things even more complicated by switching to a different NFC chipset in its recent Nexus products that's incompatible with older 'non-standard' NFC tags (even though those tags are the *industry* standard).

    Which brings us to the really hard to swallow part of this article: the notion that the bank abandoned NFC because of iOS marketshare. The iPhone is just 35% of the smartphone market in Australia - and the iPad has 55%. Clearly, if 100% of Android devices had NFC, their statement would be idiotic (why abandon a feature the majority of their customers have) but in fact, most Android devices don't have NFC either.. so the reality is that it isn't iOS that's driving the decision - it's the profound lack of ANY smartphones or tablets with NFC.

    Seriously - this desperate need to frame everything relative to one company's products is just sloppy thinking and sloppy journalism.
    • Suncorp, I would imagine

      know who their customers are and what they are using for tech.
  • Actually... was Suncorp that brought iOS into the conversation, not the author.
  • market share

    iPhone may have 35% of the smartphone market share but I'd guess it has closer to 100% of the "people who do online banking from their smartphone" market.

    Android phones are used as phones. iPhones are used as little computers.

    That, and Android users have no money, so a banking app is hardly going to see much use from the Android userbase.