NZ mobile payments wallet Semble adds Snapper to its repertoire

Wellington contactless payment system Snapper has been added to New Zealand's Android-exclusive mobile payment wallet, Semble.

New Zealand digital wallet Semble has added contactless payments system Snapper to its mobile wallet.

In its beta phase, Semble now allows users to pay for parking, taxis, cable car fares, bus fares, and even coffee by holding their smartphone over Snapper readers at certain facilities throughout the New Zealand capital.

"We want to provide our public transport users with the easiest way to pay for their trip, and we think the smartphone is that way," Snapper's CEO Miki Szikszai said.

"Customers can now pay for their trip, top up and buy passes, all directly from their phone. This makes catching the bus, taxi, or paying for parking even easier than before, letting customers get on with their day."

Snapper, a wholly owned subsidiary of Infratil Limited -- which also owns NZ Bus -- is a contactless payment system that takes the form of a bank card and allows users to "tap and go" to make a purchase. According to Snapper, the technology is supported in over 4,000 places across Wellington.

Semble's CEO Rob Ellis said that the addition of Snapper to the Semble app marks a significant period of growth for the New Zealand mobile wallet.

"At launch, we promised a single app offering multiple services to customers. A one-stop shop including payments, transport, ticketing, offers, loyalty cards, all on your phone accessed via a single app. The launch of Snapper in Semble brings us one step closer to that goal," he said.

The mobile wallet app was released in March, following the success of its pilot trial in November last year.

"Semble is a natural evolution of how we already use our smartphones. Merging the wallet with the smartphone is the obvious next step," Ellis said at the time.

"It was important to design a product using the highest international security standards, while still being something that's easy for Kiwis to use and simple for businesses to join."

Semble is a consortium supported by the country's three mobile network heavyweights, 2degrees, Spark, and Vodafone, partnering with two of the big four banks, ASB and BNZ, as well as the country's largest EFTPOS transactor, Paymark.

Westpac New Zealand, however, is not a part of the Semble club, instead adopting host card emulation (HCE) technology and charting an independent technology path.

HCE is one method of employing near-field communication (NFC) for contactless payments by storing customer details in the cloud. Around 18,000 NFC-capable terminals are now deployed in New Zealand, with Westpac the first bank to trial HCE in the country.

The bank planned to launch a pilot in early 2015.

Updated July 9, 2015, at 12.20pm AEST: The story originally stated that Westpac NZ's HCE technology was a joint effort with TSM NZ (Semble). The bank's HCE path is separate altogether from Semble.