Australia's Westpac bank is to introduce NFC payments from the beginning of 2014, using the secure elements embedded in some Android mobile phones. The bank is working with Visa on the project and says customers will be able to add "all Westpac debit and credit cards" to their phones.
The service will be available to new and existing customers via the Westpac mobile banking application and is fully EMV compliant. The app will also enable customers to check their transaction history and account balance.
"Contactless payments have been the single most important payments trend in 2013, now accounting for over 50% of scheme debit transactions," says David Lindberg, Westpac's chief product officer for Australian financial services. "Westpac's move marks the next big step — taking contactless to the phone."
"Customers love the ease and convenience of contactless payments and we see mobile phone payments as the next stage of that journey in Australian banking."
"Westpac has trialled the use of stickers for mobile payments but has decided not to roll them out to customers," he adds.
"Westpac continues to support all handset providers and will be excited to support them when they do develop payment solutions for their phones in the future."
"Australia is leading the world in its adoption of contactless payments," says Vipin Kalra, Visa's country manager for Australia. "One in every three Visa transactions and more than 50% of debit transactions in store are now a contactless Visa payWave transaction."
"We expect other Australian banks to announce similar developments."
• Commonwealth Bank of Australia is also introducing NFC payments using secure elements embedded in Samsung Galaxy S4 phones. The bank is working with MasterCard on the project.