After walking away from its near-field communications (NFC)-based payment pilot in 2007, due to the absence of a compelling business case for the product's release to mass market, National Australia Bank (NAB) has today revealed that concerns around aesthetics and industry standards are also holding the bank back from releasing the mobile wallet.
"We're very interested in having the NFC chip integrated into the handset," NAB told ZDNet Australia today. "We don't want a case- or a sticker-based NFC product."
NAB entered into an integrated NFC trial with telco giant Telstra in 2007, giving 250 of its staff access to NFC-capable handsets that acted like contactless EFTPOS cards when activated.
The bank had aimed to deploy the service to the mass market within a matter of years, but later admitted that the service wasn't ready for primetime. Instead, the bank started investing more money in its online-banking initiatives.
NAB's concerns over the current state of the mobile wallet extended beyond aesthetic concerns, however, with the bank adding that it wants to back an open, industry-wide ecosystem before jumping into the deep end.
"We're not interested in getting into a fragmented ecosystem," NAB said. "We'd like an industry standard and an integrated NFC device."
The bank welcomed an announcement by Visa last week that saw the payments provider certifying several handsets for use with integrated NFC, including the US version of the Samsung Galaxy S II, several BlackBerry handsets and an LG unit currently not sold in Australia.
NAB said that in light of this announcement, work is continuing on developing a mobile wallet, based on an industry standard that users can integrate into their smartphones.
NAB was not willing to commit to a timeframe for delivery of the new service.