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.

J. Angelo Racoma
J. Angelo Racoma has written extensively about mobile, social media, enterprise apps and startups. Angelo develops business case studies for Microsoft enterprise platforms, and is also co-founder at WorkSmartr, a small outsourcing team that offers digital content and marketing services.