Coles launches mobile wallet

Summary:Coles has launched its own mobile wallet, integrating an NFC contactless payment sticker, smartphone app for iPhone and Android, its existing Coles MasterCard credit card program, and its Flybuys loyalty card program.

Australian grocery retail giant, Coles, today announced the launch of its mobile wallet, combining a new smartphone app for iPhone and Android, near-field communications (NFC) sticker for contactless payment, and the integration of its existing Coles MasterCard.

The Coles Mobile Wallet comes around 18 months after the company first trialled its Coles Pay Tag NFC patch , and is also integrated with the company's Flybuys program in addition to its credit card program.

According to Coles' general manager of financial services, Richard Wormald, the trial of the NFC tag met with ready acceptance by the company's customers.

"Our trials revealed that 77 percent of Coles MasterCard customers found the Coles Pay Tag more convenient than using their traditional credit cards," said Wormald. "We understand that Coles customers are doing even more from their mobile devices — whether that be surfing for recipes or managing their finances."

According to Coles, the new mobile wallet is free and allows customers to view Flybuys accounts in-app, along with their Coles credit card account, available credit, and transaction history. It also incorporates MasterCard's 'Zero Liability' and its Falcon fraud system. Additionally, users can switch the contactless payment option on or off using the app.

Andrew Cartwright, Master Card Australia's senior vice president and country manager, said the hundreds of thousands of contactless payment terminals installed throughout Australian retailers provide a ready platform for the new Coles Mobile Wallet.

"More than 320,000 contactless terminals are now available nationally, giving mobile wallet customers the opportunity to use the convenient payment method at a wide range of retailers," he said. "With one in two transactions below AU$100 now made with contactless technology, Australia continues to lead the way in payments globally."

Coles is touting its new Mobile Wallet as effectively being a credit card and a Flybuys card in one. However, according to a promotional video by the company, customers will still need to ensure their Flybuys barcode — printed on the NFC sticker — is scanned in addition to making a contactless payment using the built-in chip.

The mobile wallet launch comes only a day after the country saw a new entrant in the contactless payments market, with Cuscal and CUA commencing the rollout of their redi2PAY mobile payment app that turns any NFC-enabled smartphone running the latest Android operating system — KitKat 4.4 or later — into a contactless payment device.

The app uses Host Card Emulation technology (HCE), which means there is no requirement for a third party, such as a telecom provider or handset manufacturer to be involved.

Topics: Banking, Australia, Mobility

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Leon covers enterprise technology and start-ups from ZDNet's Sydney newsroom.

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