Contactless trial fails: ANZ

Contactless trial fails: ANZ

Summary: After ANZ Bank concluded a trial of contactless, phone-based Near Field Communication (NFC) payments in April, the bank has revealed it won't be pursuing the technology in its current form.


After ANZ Bank concluded a trial of contactless, phone-based Near Field Communication (NFC) payments in April, the bank has revealed it won't be pursuing the technology in its current form.

ANZ contactless trial

(Credit: Visa)

Near-field communication facilitates the transmission of data over a range of approximately 10cm. An NFC-enabled chip in a mobile phone can interact with a proximity card reader to make mobile payments.

The bank, in partnership with Visa, launched a trial in March where a MicroSD card pre-programmed with a user's banking details could be inserted into an NFC-enabled phone case on iPhones and Android-handsets. Users could then open an app on the phone to be used in conjunction with Visa PayWave readers.

ANZ Bank told ZDNet Australia today that the MicroSD card system used in the trials didn't measure up to the bank's needs.

"We have found in our research that our participants strongly supported contactless payment as a convenient way to pay, but the MicroSD technology did not meet all of our requirements.

"At this stage, we will not be progressing with MicroSD as a contactless payment technology platform, but we will continue to look for ways to support contactless payments in the market," ANZ said in a statement this afternoon.

It is unclear at this stage whether or not the bank will look towards native NFC technology like the Samsung Nexus S or the recently announced Nokia N9 for future trials, but said that it is still committed to the technology.

"Overall, we found the trial extremely useful as it confirmed that customers like to use contactless for low-value transactions under $100. Contactless is an extremely exciting piece of innovative technology and we're looking forward to seeing how we can implement it for our customers in the future," ANZ added.

ANZ and Visa launched the trial for 50 of its Sydney and Melbourne staff in March with a technology developed by DeviceFidelity.

Rumours have been swirling as to whether or not Apple will include NFC in the upcoming iPhone 5, a decision that PayPal director of mobile Laura Chambers believes will delay mainstream uptake should Apple decide to forego the contactless payment technology.

"You need that first trigger for [retailers and merchants] to follow," she said.

Google last month took the covers off of its phone-based payments system, aptly named Google Wallet. Sadly, Google Wallet services won't be coming down under anytime in the foreseeable future.

"It's a field test in the US only, and we look forward to sharing more news when we have it," Google Australia told ZDNet Australia in a statement.

There have even been recent reports that HP is working on NFC-enabled tablets and smartphones.

Topics: Android, Apple, Google, iPhone, Mobility

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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  • NFC payments from phones will inevitablly be coming soon. When you think about it, it actually makes more sense than using your credit card for low value purchases and contactless payment. You can have a greater level of security and control(compared to credit cards for contactless payment) on your mobile device with access control through passwords/passcodes and security apps that allow you to immediately remote lock or wipe the device in case you lose it.
  • I agree, although when you lose your phone, it normally takes a while to get a new one as most people want to think through all their options. With a card, you just ask your bank to cancel the old card and reissue you with a new one -- which could potentially be shorter, unless you're the impulse phone buyer type, or have other phones to fall back on.
  • More like they didn't want to spend the money to put it in, it comes down to profit magins !
  • If you lose your phone, will the NFC app have a separate password so that whoever finds it can't run up a series of transactions before it is cancelled?
    If the app has a separate password that has to be entered each time to use, will people bother to use it - may be faster to pull out the credit-card?
    With phones using pre-paid SIMs, will the NFC transactions come out of the prepaid credit allowance and how will it handle things if there is insufficient credit left on the SIM?
    Lots of questions still to be answered with this payments method.