​ANZ launches Android-based BladePay mobile payments solution

The bank has officially launched BladePay, offering Australian businesses an Android Marshmallow-based customisable mobile payments solution.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has officially launched BladePay, a mobile payments solution for Australian businesses, in partnership with South African-based payments startup ThumbzUp.

ANZ BladePay is a handheld Android-based payment device which is capable of running third party applications and is made up of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. It features a 5-inch display, an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera, and a 1/2D barcode scanner. WiFi and 4G are available as connectivity options.

"We are routinely told that managing payments is one of the biggest pain points for business owners, yet when we looked at the market we found an opportunity to create a platform that could dramatically change the way our customers do business," ANZ group executive Australia Fred Ohlsson said.

In addition, ANZ announced six point-of-sale vendors that are developing customised applications for the new platform: NCR, RedCat, H&L, SureFire, Abacus, and Shout for Good.

"What really sets ANZ BladePay apart is the software our vendor partners are developing, which is tailored to our customers' needs," Ohlsson said in a statement. "ANZ BladePay is much more than a secure payments solution; its potential is limitless."

The six point-of-sale vendors are currently building applications to include features such as order and pay at table, split bill and tipping options, ability to email and SMS receipts, and staff shift clock-on functions, the bank added.

In order to use BladePay, businesses are required to be ANZ merchant customers and use a point-of-sale system provided by one of the six vendor partners. The device will be available to the hospitality industry in March 2017, with it offered to retail and B2B merchants shortly after.

ANZ was the first bank in Australia to launch Apple Pay, and is currently the only bank in New Zealand to offer the service.

The bank was the only member of Australia's big four to embrace Apple Pay by leaving the group of banks requesting collective bargaining rights with Apple.

ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott highlighted last month that it was also the first to work with Android Pay in both regions.

In announcing the bank's 2016 financial results, Elliott told shareholders ANZ has been heavily focused on competing in the "digital age".

"[ANZ] took steps to create a better experience for our customers and to compete efficiently in the digital age," Elliott said previously.

"This included the successful launch of Apple Pay and Android Pay in Australia and Apple Pay in New Zealand. These are market-leading initiatives that have delivered good growth in new-to-bank customers."

ANZ posted AU$5.7 billion in statutory net profit for the 12-month period, representing a 24 percent tumble year-on-year.

At the time, the bank said it wanted to gain more digital customers and an increased number of digital transactions and functionality.

As such, ANZ told shareholders it had been working on improved banker tools, reducing customer application times, and simplifying data capture. It also said it delivered an improved customer experience through the refresh of ANZ.com and its mobile banking application.

Currently, ANZ claims to have over 1 million customers using its goMoney apps on the bank's new digital banking multi-channel platform, with AU$72 billion in transactions processed per annum over goMoney mobile.

In 2016, ANZ launched Digital Identity Verification, which saw 65 percent of customers applying for a savings account online and having their identity verified via a digital channel.

ANZ experienced 32 percent growth in digital logins since 2014; 60 percent "digitally active" retail customers, up from 55 percent in 2014; and 47 percent growth in digital sales transactions since 2014. It achieved the highest penetration of customers adopting mobile payments amongst the major banks.

ANZ also recently extended its contract with Singtel and its subsidiary Optus Business, which will see the telco giant provide telecommunications and managed services to the bank throughout Australia and Asia to 2020.

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