Google expands support for wearable payments to Canada, Spain, and Australia

Google Pay on Wear OS officially spreads to three new countries — Android Police — “In addition to using NFC-equipped watches to make regular mobile payments, users in Australia can use their Wear OS devices with the Opal ticketing system to pay for single-trip tickets on select rail and ferry lines… Formerly, Google’s payment service was only supported on Android Wear (now Wear OS) devices in the US and the UK.”


Commonwealth Bank of Australia adds support for Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay now available for Commonwealth Bank customers — Commonwealth Bank of Australia — “Commonwealth Bank customers will now have access to Samsung’s contactless payments platform, Samsung Pay… Today’s announcement follows CBA’s partnership with Google in November to offer Android Pay on compatible devices at almost 800,000 stores across Australia. CBA customers have also been able to make payments on the go with Fitbit and Garmin’s new payment-enabled smartwatches.”


Australian iPhone users ‘more likely to bank with a provider if it supports Apple Pay’

Australian smartphone sales grow in 2017 as users lock into platforms — Telsyte — “The increasing adoption in mobile contactless payments is starting to influence Australian’s banking decisions… Around one in five (22%) iPhone users claim they are more likely to bank with a provider if it supports Apple Pay. This figure increases to 32% per cent for those who are also using an Apple Watch.”


Australia’s next generation payments platform goes live

Australia’s new payments platform goes live — ITNews — “The NPP [New Payments Platform] works like a ‘secure set of rails’ between banks so they can send payment messages in real time to each other via the Reserve Bank. The platform allows services to run on top of the NPP — like Bpay’s Osko, which is the first so-called overlay service to arrive on the platform. Osko lets consumers transfer money to someone via their mobile phone number or email address in real-time, 24/7. It also enables them to send a 280-character description with their payment.”


Commonwealth Bank introduces chatbot that can answer 200 banking and payments questions

Commonwealth Bank launches chatbot named Ceba — Commonwealth Bank of Australia — “Commonwealth Bank has launched its chatbot Ceba to assist customers with more than 200 banking tasks such as activating their card, checking account balance, making payments, or getting cardless cash… Available 24/7, Ceba can recognise approximately 60,000 different ways customers ask for the 200 banking tasks and will eventually be able to tell customers what they are spending their money on.”


ANZ reports surge in mobile wallet transaction volumes

Mobile wallet spending surges over holiday period — ANZ Bluenotes — “ANZ data show a significant rise in the volume of mobile wallet transactions in December 2017, up 140% on the previous corresponding period… In December ANZ customers favoured their smartphones and wearables for 4.5% of all transactions, compared with 2% for the same time last year. ANZ data show mobile wallet transactions reached 3.9m in December, compared with 1.6m in the same month in 2016.”


Westpac integrates mobile banking app with iMessage

Westpac launches iMessage shortcut for customers — Westpac — “The new capability offers Westpac customers a shortcut to access banking services while texting with contacts on their iPhone. By clicking on the new Westpac icon in their text conversation window, customers will be able to make payments, generate a Cardless Cash code and share their BSB and account details without leaving their text message. Westpac for iMessage is an extension of the Westpac Mobile Banking App. Customers with iMessage enabled on their iPhone with iOS 11 and the latest version of the Westpac app (v8.4) will be able to use the capability.”


National Australia Bank integrates with Amazon Alexa

Hands-free banking: ‘Alexa, ask NAB if I’ve been paid’ — National Australia Bank — “The NAB skill for Amazon Alexa will allow customers, who have connected Alexa with their NAB account to ask their Alexa device questions like: ‘What’s my savings account balance?’, ‘How much do I owe on my credit card?’ or ‘Did I get paid this week?’… ‘In the future, we certainly see this experience turning into one where you can pay bills, make funds transfers or even purchase items at the command of your voice.’”



Bankwest offers customers a contactless payment ring

Bankwest Halo: Make simpler, faster payments with our wearable payment ring. — Bankwest — “Bankwest Halo is the latest in wearable payment tech. It works exactly like your contactless cards, just grab the things you need, fist-bump the terminal and go… Your personalised ring has a payment device fee of A$39 which is payable for its manufacture, use and setup… There is no fee to register your interest or to receive your free sizing kit.”


Australian transit authority uses open APIs to expand ticketing network to private operators

Transport for New South Wales opens up its Opal payments system to privately-operated transport services — Open Gov Asia — “Open APIs allow other companies using their own terminals and equipment to connect to the Opal payments system. This allows them to simplify their operations, reduce operating costs and provide a quick and convenient way for commuters to pay for travel across a range of transportation modes.”


Australia’s central bank explores the issue of electronic banknotes

An eAUD? — Reserve Bank of Australia — “An electronic form of banknotes could coexist with the electronic payment systems operated by the banks, although the case for this new form of money is not yet established… The issuing authority could issue electronic currency in the form of files or ‘tokens’. These tokens could be stored in digital wallets, provided by financial institutions and others. These tokens could then be used for payments in a similar way that physical banknotes are used today.”


First US gym adds support for Apple Watch NFC pairing with exercise machines

Apple Watch GymKit syncing arrives in exactly one US gym — Engadget — “GymKit syncing on the Apple Watch technically arrived with watchOS 4.1, but there’s been one main obstacle to using it: Actually finding a gym that supports it. Only one fitness center each in Australia and the UK have enabled it so far… One solitary gym in New York City, Life Time Athletic at Sky, now has 13 GymKit-capable machines (including treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and stair steppers) that will pair with your smartwatch.”


Australian banks ordered to cut contactless transaction fees

‘Let shoppers choose Eftpos’: Banks ordered to overhaul paywave systems by April — news.com.au — “Australia’s banks have been given a deadline of April next year to reduce fees charged on tap-and-go payments by giving customers the option of choosing Eftpos instead of credit… ‘It’s estimated that processing tap-and-go transactions through credit cards instead of Eftpos costs businesses A$290 [US$220m] million a year.'”


Australian merchants to accept payments on their mobile phones — with no additional hardware required

CBA launches hardware-less payments app for SMBs — The Australian Financial Review — “Commonwealth Bank will bring a new mobile payments technology to market in Australia that enables small businesses to accept credit card payments of up to A$100 on their Samsung devices, without any other hardware…. A pilot program is expected to kick off in early 2018, with the smartphone payments platform to be rolled out commercially by mid next year.”



Garmin Pay adds support for Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards

Garmin and NXT-ID subsidiary FitPay expand Garmin Pay to Visa accountholders — Garmin and NXT-ID — “Garmin Pay is now available to Visa accountholders from numerous participating issuing banks including Bank of America, Capital One, and US Bank in the United States, and BonusCard, Cornér Bank, ANZ and NAB (National Australia Bank) internationally… Garmin Pay was initially launched in November 2017 for Mastercard accountholders.”



Garmin Pay goes live in US, Switzerland, Russia and Australia

Garmin and NXT-ID subsidiary FitPay announce Garmin Pay now live on Garmin Vivoactive 3 smartwatch — NXT-ID and Garmin International — “The new contactless payment capability is powered by the FitPay payment platform and available initially for Mastercard cardholders from numerous issuing banks and credit unions including BECU, Capital One, First Tech Federal Credit Union, and US Bank in the United States, and internationally through Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Cornèrcard, Sberbank of Russia, and Swiss Bankers Prepaid Services Ltd.”


Apple GymKit with NFC goes live in Australia

GymKit launches today in Australia, automatically sync workout data between Apple Watch and gym equipment — 9to5Mac — “The first gym to feature GymKit-compatible equipment is now up and running in Australia. Users just tap their watches to the treadmill (or other GymKit equipment) using NFC, and they start sending data back and forth automatically… The idea is that the watch and the paired gym machine have better knowledge about different aspects of the workout. GymKit allows that data to be shared back and forth, as appropriate.”


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