​Westpac's tap and pay snubs non-Samsung smartphones

Westpac continues to extend its tap-and-pay functionality to the Samsung range while it works on using host card emulation technology to enable the function for other Android handsets.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Westpac customers that are owners of the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be able to tap and pay from their devices, beginning Tuesday.

The tap-and-pay contactless functionality is currently available via the Westpac mobile banking app to the Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, S5 Mini, Galaxy Alpha, Note 3, Note 4, and Note Edge handsets.

At the moment, tap and pay is only available to Samsung smartphones, due to its inbuilt secure element (SE), a feature that is required by the app for security purposes, as it does not currently support non-SE methods.

However, the bank informed ZDNet that it is continuing to investigate using host card emulation (HCE) to make tap and pay available to other Android handsets.

"Current market solutions require the phone to be unlocked, the application launched, and a PIN number entered for every transaction. When Westpac is able to replicate an experience in mobile banking that is as easy and convenient as a traditional plastic contactless transaction, it will launch to customers," a Westpac spokesperson said.

Westpac New Zealand, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and AMP Bank have all adopted HCE technology to enable its customers who are Android smartphone owners, and not just Samsung owners, the ability to make contactless transactions using their devices.

In making payments using tap and pay, customers are able to use to their personal Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit cards and debit MasterCard cards.

"Australia leads the world in contactless payments and mobile banking experiences -- banking is now something people do anytime, anywhere. With the existing mobile tap-and-pay service, our customers love the ability to keep paying for things even when they don't have their wallet," said Andy Kerr, Westpac's head of retail banking products and services.

"Recent Westpac research also showed that young Australians regard their mobile phone as more important than their wallet or card, so it's great to be bringing the convenience of contactless payments, safely and securely via the Westpac Mobile Banking app, to even more smartphones."

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