Eftpos goes digital with Apple Pay for ANZ bank customers

Eftpos has announced a partnership with the iPhone maker to provide mobile payments via Apple Pay in partnership with ANZ bank.

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Australian electronic payments network Eftpos has joined Apple Pay, allowing customers with an Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)-issued Access card to use the iPhone maker's wallet to make in-store Eftpos mobile payments.

Speaking with ZDNet, Eftpos acting CEO Paul Jennings said that unlike other cards that process mobile payments as credit transactions, an Eftpos Apple Pay "tap" accesses an individual's own money in real-time.

With 931,771 payments terminals active in Australia as of June this year, the partnership with Apple and ANZ is Eftpos' first foray into mobile payments.

"Cards, particularly contactless cards, are very successful, very popular in Australia," Jennings said. "But increasingly people leave home with their phone and not their physical wallet and that is the trend -- the trend is toward electronic payments and to new form factors beyond the plastic card.

"There's a lot of convenience that comes with the mobile phone and we're now part of that evolution."

More than 1 million Eftpos "tap & pay" cards have been issued by Australian financial institutions, with Eftpos expecting that number to reach over 3 million cards by the end of 2017. The company said its network processed more than 2.2 billion cheque and savings transactions in 2016, worth over AU$138 billion.

Jennings touted Wednesday's announcement as a moment in the evolution of a 30-year domestic payments scheme, and noted it is a large part of modernising Eftpos.

"We now have very broad acceptance of Eftpos at the merchants for contactless and increasingly our members -- card issuers -- have put Eftpos contactless onto their cards," Jennings said.

"There are multiple wallets, some of the banks have their own wallets, smartphone manufacturers have their own wallets ... we'll be in as many wallets or mobile platforms as our members would like us to be in."

In stores, Apple Pay works with the iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and later, and Apple Watch.

ANZ offers Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, making it the only bank in Australia to offer four third-party wallet solutions, in addition to its own ANZ Mobile Pay platform.

"ANZ has been at the forefront of mobile payment services for some time now. Today's announcement offers our customers yet another great option for making convenient and secure purchases using their mobile device," ANZ managing director of products Bob Belan said on Wednesday.

"We know from experience that Australian consumers increasingly want to use mobile payment services and so we're happy to be working with Eftpos in enabling Apple Pay as an option for our 1.6 million ANZ Eftpos Access cardholders."

Fintech analyst Juniper Research estimates that the number of users of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay will hit 150 million by the end of this year.

Apple Pay is predicted to reach 86 million users by the end of 2017, while Samsung Pay is forecast by Juniper to reach 34 million, and Android Pay 24 million.

Although Apple Pay has been flagged as the most popular wallet, its rollout in Australia has been stifled, with ANZ the only member of the big four banks to adopt the iPhone maker's wallet.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Westpac, the National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank had previously sought regulatory approval to collectively negotiate with third-party mobile providers such as Apple on conditions relating to competition, best practice standards, and efficiency.

The banks had previously argued to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that alternatives to Apple Pay are unrealistic in the Australian market, after the ACCC handed down a determination denying authorisation in March for the cartel to collectively negotiate.

Meanwhile, CBA has since allowed payments from Garmin smartwatches, while Westpac joined Samsung Pay earlier in the year.

"We work with our members and the wallets that they would like to be in, whether that's their own wallets or an Apple wallet, or a Google or Samsung, or something else. That's the way we work," Jennings added.

"We are member-mutual so the things that we do are supported by our board, which includes many of the [aforementioned] banks -- we do things for the good of our membership and not everyone in our membership has to subscribe to what we do.

"Whatever wallets our members choose to be in, we will look to be in as well -- this just happens to be the first one."

Eftpos completed its industry-wide technology infrastructure transformation program in July, with its new centralised payments hub expected to support the rollout of new Eftpos products and services, such as tap & pay and mobile pay.

The company upgraded its centralised payment hub in late 2014, enabling banks to make centralised upgrades to the network, which supported the initial rollout of payment technologies such as online, contactless, and mobile.

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