The EFTPOS network will start trialling mobile payments with selected Australian retailers, in the latest push to expand the technology.
The move comes alongside the growing popularity of contactless payments such as the Visa PayWave system, which has been adopted by several major retailers. Many payment terminals now accept contactless payments.
Adding contactless payment technology to the EFTPOS system would not only mean consumers could use the tech without having it attached to a Visa or MasterCard system, but they could do so with a mobile phone.
However, according to technology experts the take-up of contactless payment technology has been less rapid than first anticipated.
Telsyte research manager Sam Yip told SmartCompany while the number of merchants adopting contactless payments has grown, there are other factors preventing it from reaching a tipping point when it comes to paying with mobile phones.
“The number of merchants is the first factor, but the other is security and comfort,” he says.
“Consumers want to feel comfortable with the way they use their mobile phones. The other barrier is simply the technology available on the phones themselves.”
In order to make contactless payments, phones require a technology called Near-Field Communication, or NFC. Most phones don’t come stocked with this tech, including the popular iPhone, so the majority of trials have relied on NFC chips embedded in phone cases, or NFC-enabled stickers.
EFTPOS chief executive Bruce Mansfield announced today the network had signed a five-year agreement with C-SAM to provide a mobile wallet and NFC widget to trail the mobile payments.
Mansfield said in a statement the service could extend to special offers and the transfer of receipts.
“This agreement will enable EFTPOS to move into proof of concept trials very quickly, to test various solutions for the Australian market,” he said.
“We want to make sure that any new technology that we offer on mobile devices is going to provide financial institutions, retailers and consumers with secure, accessible and affordable payment solutions.”
This isn’t the first time such a trial has been conducted. The major banks have already used mobile wallets with NFC technology to test mobile payments, although these have all resulted in no major move to adopt the technology.
Yip says in order to do so, two things need to happen: More retailers need to adopt contactless technology, and phones need to start coming built with NFC capability
“The number one thing holding it back is the merchants,” he says. “More merchants need to be available to offer this type of service.”
“People getting comfortable with contactless payments is a good first step. We’re certainly heading in the right direction.”