Westpac says it has become the first bank in New Zealand --
and one of only a handful around the world - to begin
trialling a Host Card Emulation mobile payment system that is
expected to be launched early next year.
Forty Westpac staff and customers are involved in the three
month trial of the technology, which will enable users to
make payments with near field communication (NFC) enabled
Android devices. Apple iPhones do not support NFC at present.
The bank said the Host Card Emulation (HCE) system, provided
by Canadian digital payments systems developer Carta
Worldwide, allowed credit card and debit card details to be
securely stored in a cloud - online - environment, accessible
on smartphones after a four-digit pin code has been entered.
"This places all relevant customer information in one place
without the need to carry and use a physical credit or debit
card," Westpac said. "After downloading a digital wallet app
and registering their card details, customers will be able to
use near field communication enabled Android handsets to make
payments at any contactless terminal."
Around 18,000 of terminals are currently installed in a range
of New Zealand businesses.
Westpac chief product officer Shane Howell said banking was
going through a period of "massive digital disruption".
"The first port of call where this disruption will occur is
in payments," Howell said. "We already use our smartphones to
organise so many aspects of our lives, so using them to make
payments is just a natural extension of this."
He said the smartphone technology was one of four components
Westpac was looking to develop to make up a "digital wallet"
"The other components we are looking to incorporate are
transport cards for buses and trains, loyalty programmes such
as Hotpoints and potentially even forms of ID like a driver's
license," Howell said. "What we're working towards is a true
digital wallet experience that is safe and easy to use."
TSM NZ - a company established by Eftpos operator Paymark
(which is owned by ASB, Westpac, ANZ and BNZ) and telcos
2degrees, Telecom and Vodafone - is working to develop
technology that will allow New Zealanders to use smartphones
for a range of functions, including payments, collecting
loyalty points and public transport.
Howell said mobile payment technology was developing rapidly
and taking and independent route through using HCE would
"Working within an industry wide group such as the TSM ...
may not allow that flexibility," he said.
- By Christopher Adams of the NZ HErald