Australia to get new contactless payment system through Vodafone Smart PASS and Visa

November 20, 2012
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Vodafone Australia wants to give its subscribers a better shopping experience through Vodafone Smart PASS. The contact-less payment system is similar to Google Wallet’s NFC-based service, although it is intended to be cross-platform, basically working on any NFC-equipped smartphone.

The app lets users pay at any store equipped with PayWave terminals. For added security, though, customers are required to secure a special NFC SIM card from Vodafone, which contains a secure element that holds prepaid account information. This prepaid account is serviced by ANZ, and can accommodate top-ups of anywhere from AUS$20 to AUS$200.

The prepaid account can be topped up from several sources, such as a credit card or bank account.

According to Vodafone Australia, the service will have some secure features, namely:

  • Payments of over AUS$100 will require a PIN or verified signature to be entered, to ensure against misuse.
  • The service also has a zero-liability policy, which means that fraudulent transactions will not be charged to the account holder.
  • A user has access to a web portal where the account can be cancelled, or disputes can be filed.
  • For additional privacy, transaction history is stored by a third party payment service called Rev, and not stored on the phone itself.

During the introduction of Smart PASS, Vodafone Australia used a Samsung Galaxy S3 to show the capabilities and features of the system. According to Vodafone Australia’s strategy and business development general manager Thomas Roets, the carrier intends for 80% of smartphones sold in 2013 to be NFC-enabled. This will suggest that the company will consider the iPhone 5 a major seller during this period, particularly due to its lack of NFC support.

Apart from Vodafone Group, other mobile-based payment systems that have come to prominence include Google Wallet, Apple Passport, and US-carrier led ISIS.

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