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CommBank SMB customers to accept payments via Samsung smartphones

The bank's small business customers will be able to accept payments via a Samsung smartphone in the second half of next year, thanks to a partnership with Mastercard and IDEMIA.

Under an agreement signed with Mastercard and identity and security firm IDEMIA, small business customers of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) using a Samsung device will soon be able to accept face-to-face payments from a contactless card or mobile wallet using their phone.

Similar to Mastercard's PayPass, the payments will be restricted to less than AU$100 and the users will be able to "tap and go" on the CBA customer's smartphone to make the payment.

Mobeewave, a Québec-based company, will provide the solution to the bank that leverages IDEMIA's digital enablement platform.

"This pilot brings us one step closer to our vision of enabling every device to become an acceptance device," Mastercard Australasia senior VP of core, digital and new payment flows Matt Barr said.

"We all use our phones to make payments, why not use them to accept payments as well? With its high use of contactless technology, Australia is an ideal environment to roll out this type of 'tap-on-phone' solution."

The payment offering uses the Samsung Knox platform, and IDEMIA's embedded secure element (eSE) PEARL. Customers can expect it to be available in the second half of 2018.

Around 80 percent of face-to-face Mastercard transactions are performed using tap-and-go functionality; it's a similar story where Visa is concerned, with 92 percent of face-to-face transactions on the Visa network utilising its PayWave service.

Although the tap-and-go function is heavily utilised in Australia, less than 1 percent of contactless payments are conducted via mobile or wearable means, despite the country's banks offering up multiple card alternatives.

However, 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.

CBA, alongside Westpac and the National Australia Bank (NAB), announced a new joint venture, Beem, in October that is charged with developing a mobile wallet for iOS and Android users.

According to the banks, customers will be able to use the app regardless of which bank they use, including organisations outside of the trio, with the end goal to be creating an "industry-wide payment solution".

The solution follows CBA, NAB, Westpac, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank pushing for regulatory approval to collectively bargain with Apple for open-access to the NFC antenna on the iPhone.

After labelling Apple Pay alternatives "unrealistic" in the Australian market, the banking cartel had their request denied by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Coinciding with the Australian availability, the bank announced iPhone X facial recognition on its CommBank app in November, allowing customers to log on to internet banking using Apple's Face ID function.

CBA has also made Garmin Pay available to its customers in Australia, while the bank's New Zealand subsidiary ASB Bank made payments available via the Fitbit Ionic.

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