Optus launches NFC payments on Android

Optus customers using certain Android devices will soon be able to make payments with their mobile phone, thanks to a new NFC SIM Optus has announced in partnership with Visa and Heritage Bank.

Optus customers using certain Android devices will soon be able to make payments with their mobile phone, thanks to a new near-field communications (NFC) SIM that Optus has announced in partnership with Visa and Heritage Bank.

Optus customers with one of the 20 compatible Android devices from Samsung, LG, Sony, and HTC will be able to order a special SIM card from Optus that contains the NFC capability to make payments in conjunction with the Cash By Optus app the company has developed with Visa and Heritage Bank.

Once set up and loaded with up to AU$500, customers will be able to use the Visa payWave technology to make payments of under AU$100 using their smartphone.

The technology uses the international EMV chip standard, and in the event that the phone is lost, Optus can close the Cash by Optus account and customers can dispute payments made.

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Optus vice president of mobile marketing Ben White said that there were close to 1 million Optus post-paid customers with compatible phones that could sign up for Cash by Optus.

"We're the first Australian telco to launch a mobile payments app, and because it's compatible with many of the latest Android devices and can be linked to any Australian bank account, we've got a huge opportunity to bring this technology to a lot of people," he said in a statement.

White said that this was just the first step for Optus, indicating that the company may look towards utilising the contactless technology for other services, such as public transport.

"Australians never leave home without their mobiles, so it makes sense to build this technology into smartphones now," he said.

Optus is the first Australian telco to venture into the NFC payments space. However, a number of the banks, including Commonwealth, Westpac, and even supermarket giant Coles, are experimenting with mobile payments .

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