Commonwealth Bank's New Zealand subsidiary ASB Bank jumps on Fitbit Pay

​ASB has teamed up with Fitbit to offer payments via the new Ionic smartwatch.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

ASB Bank has announced the availability of payments via Fitbit Ionic, allowing customers with the wearable giant's new smartwatch to pay via a watch tap.

Based in New Zealand, ASB is wholly owned by Australian banking giant the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).

Ionic was launched globally last month, and ASB customers are already able to set up Fitbit Pay through the Fitbit app that works across Apple, Android, and Windows devices. The payment function, however, will be "available soon".

Fitbit Pay is in addition to the ASB Virtual mobile wallet, which allows customers to use their Android phone to make payments wherever Paywave is accepted, and control features through the ASB Mobile app.

"ASB is committed to offering customers choice as to how they want to pay and we are delighted to work with Fitbit to offer the freedom of contactless payments," ASB general manager payments Matt Bartlett said in a statement on Thursday.

"This will be great for our customers with active lifestyles who don't want to take their phone or wallet with them when they are out and about."

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) announced the launch of Fitbit Pay earlier this week, adding yet another solution to its choice of payment options. It added Samsung Pay to its payment mix in July.

ANZ claimed it was the first to work with Android Pay, and took its Android-based ANZ Mobile Pay to market in February last year.

ANZ continues to be the only one of Australia's big four banks to offer Apple Pay, and similarly the only one in New Zealand.

CBA, Westpac, the National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank had previously sought regulatory approval to collectively negotiate with third-party mobile providers such as Apple on conditions relating to competition, best practice standards, and efficiency.

The banks had previously argued to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that alternatives to Apple Pay are unrealistic in the Australian market, after the ACCC handed down a determination denying authorisation in March for the cartel to collectively negotiate.

"These alternatives are unrealistic in Australia, which has the world's highest adoption of contactless NFC card payments and one of the world's highest iPhone market shares, particularly among customers likely to use mobile payments," the banks said previously.

"In Australia, potential mobile wallet providers other than Apple are locked out of the established payment infrastructure in respect of the clear majority of relevant customers."

By September, the use of alternatives to Apple Pay by those banks had become reality, with CBA announcing it would allow payments from Garmin smartwatches, while Westpac joined Samsung Pay earlier in the year.

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