A three-month trial of mobile phone commerce technology by Telstra, the National Australia Bank and Visa has been hailed as a success with all three parties looking to deploy the technology extensively.
Regarded as Australia's first trial of “contactless” mobile phone payments, shops in Melbourne's Docklands precinct accepted transactions up to the value of $35.
The trial found 90 per cent of participants were “very or extremely satisfied” with the contactless mobile phone payment system, with 95 per cent “likely or extremely likely” to use the system in the future.
Moreover, 78 per cent of the participants said paying with a mobile phone was better than cash.
Enabling the mobile phones to facilitate commerce is done with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology – a short-range wireless signal standard that can transmit data to a "reader" at the merchant location, eliminating the need for a credit or debit card at the time of purchase.
Consumers download the NAB Visa credit card software application to their Telstra SIM remotely.
The registered NAB Visa credit card is then charged by the merchant’s Visa payWare-enabled reader.
No time frame was given for any large-scale deployment of the technology, only that the three companies will be looking at it “over the next few years”.
“Feedback from the merchants that took part in the trial was also positive, with participants reporting contactless mobile phone payments as a quicker, more efficient and convenient way to serve customers,” according to Telstra. Telstra's enterprise and government group managing director David Thodey said the trial participants realised genuine value in the ability to make smaller transactions, such as for coffees and papers, with a wave of the phone rather than “fumbling for change”.
At NAB, regional general manager of consumer product solutions John Salamito said mobile payments can work successfully in a “real environment” and the bank is looking at ways to launch this into the local market.
Visa’s general manager for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, Chris Clark, said the trial confirmed the appeal of mobile payments, particularly for use in high-speed environments like cafes and petrol stations.