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Optus jumps on contactless payments bandwagon

Optus will trial NFC technology for mobile payments with Visa, ahead of a full launch in 2013.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Optus will become the second mobile provider in Australia, after Vodafone, to offer contactless payments for customers in 2013.

The telco announced today that it was working with Visa and Heritage Bank to trial contactless payments for smartphones using near-field communications (NFC) technology with Visa's payWave services.

As with the Vodafone trial, the telco will store debit card information in an NFC-enabled SIM card. Optus' vice president of digital communities and ecosystems, Austin Bryan, said that the pilot would be used by Optus to build a "commercial m-wallet" for a full launch early next year.

"Users of the Optus m-wallet will benefit from a secure environment with enhanced NFC credentials that have a very high level of security. Not only will the SIM cards be protected by the same EMV chip technology used in scheme credit and debit cards, the customer has the added security of a password protected pin on the application," he said in a statement.

It is unclear at this stage what devices Optus will launch the m-wallet service on, however, it will likely initially be offered on Android devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S III, where NFC is already available, though the vendors do not have access to the secure element of the NFC in the phone.

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