Commonwealth Bank of Australia said today that it intended to extend its network of contactless payment terminals by 15,000 before the end of the year.
Contactless card and reader
(Credit: Commonwealth Bank)
The bank said last year that it would implement 2000 readers by the end of the year, but just missed its target, only reaching 1900. The bank had not then known exactly how many terminals it intended on rolling out this year.
The bank has around 160,000 terminals in total, meaning that only around 10 per cent would be equipped with the new technology, allowing holders of cards with relevant technology to pay bills quickly by card. Instead of swiping a card and then entering a PIN or providing a signature, those customers just tap their cards on the reader for purchases under $100.
The idea is to provide a quick, secure payment method to merchants for small and frequent purchases which customers would usually use cash for. According to Kelly Bayer-Rosmarin, Commonwealth Bank's executive general manager of business products and development, customers have been noticing the terminals and have been using them "organically".
"Contactless transactions are proving to be really simple for cardholders to use," the spokesperson said. "The readers have a green light that starts flashing to indicate the cardholder should 'tap' their card. The reader then 'beeps' to show the card has been read, and then 'Approved' is displayed on the screen to show the transaction has been completed successfully."
National Australia Bank (NAB) has also been rolling out contactless terminals. It had set itself a target of 2500 readers by Christmas, which in November the bank announced was already met.
The bank has not yet answered queries on how many more terminals it intends to change over to the new technology.
NAB's contactless payment service is a two-tiered one, with Visa payWave customers not required to sign or enter a PIN for transactions under $100, while the limit for MasterCard PayPass customers is $35.
NAB is now moving to equip its customers with cards carrying the Visa payWave technology. Commonwealth Bank has a head start in this area, having already issued over three million cards with the rival MasterCard technology.