AMP Bank turns to HCE to bring contactless payments to Androids

As part of the next phase of its banking and wealth management app, AMP has introduced AMPwave to enable up-to-date Android smartphone users who are AMP Visa debit cardholders to tap and go.

AMP Bank has introduced host card emulation (HCE) technology to its mobile app to enable Android users running KitKat 4.4 or later the ability to make contactless payments up to AU$100 without a PIN.

The HCE technology replaces the need for customers to purchase a PayTag sticker, which AMP Bank released last year to allow customers to make tap-and-go payments valued up to AU$100 with their smartphones. The technology, to be known as AMPwave, will be integrated into the AMP banking and wealth management app, and will be available to AMP Bank Visa debit cardholders.

The latest update of the mobile app is part of AMP Bank's broader digital strategy, which started in late 2013 when the company launched its first mobile app for the Apple iOS platform. An Android version of the app was launched in February 2014. AMP Bank also released an app for the Apple iPad in May last year.

AMP director digital Michael Weeding said the company has slowly been introducing mobile solutions and enhancements to customers.

"Our key focus is a build a whole of wealth experience for our customers as that's the demand we're seeing from customers as they connect with AMP," he said.

Weeding added that enhancing the customer's digital experience with HCE will bring the company's wealth management and banking business closer together, which traditionally have been two separate functions.

"This is just another function that we've brought to our customers, and they'll continue see a lot more over the next 12 to 24 months as we line up the wealth and the bank to give a truly whole of wealth experience to customers across the Australian market," he said.

The introduction of the HCE-based technology to a mobile app is a similar move that Commonwealth Bank of Australia made in early March.

CBA on Tuesday also finally released the general availability of its mobile Eftpos tablet, Albert, three years after the company initially announced the solution.

In CBA's defence, Gary Roach, managing director of payments and cash management services, said it was fair to say that it took a "while" to release Albert, but this was only because the bank wanted to make sure the solution's security levels were up to scratch to be PCI compliant. The bank also wanted to ensure that it supported EMV transactions and that no one else in the market could "emulate" what it had done.