Westpac Is Bringing Contactless Payments To Your SIM Card [Updated]

Tired of the Commonwealth Bank blaming Android handset manufacturers for the lack of NFC-support in its phone wallet product, Kaching? Well so is Westpac, and today it's announced a new Android contactless payment application that uses the SIM card to transmit the payment data. No case required.

Westpac has teamed up with Mastercard for the application, which is only in its pilot stage so far.

The secure element -- the thing that makes contactless payments possible via mobile -- will be embedded in the SIM card with Westpac's product, meaning you don't need to strap a case onto your device, nor do you have to worry about whether or not your device has NFC.

Here's the full Q&A we had with Westpac:

How many people on the pilot? There are approximately 100 people participating in the pilot.

Are testers Westpac staff or members of the public? Pilot participants are a combination of internal employees and external vendors.

Which phones are the testers using? Samsung Galaxy SIII running Google's Android platform are being used to trial the app.

How does the SIM-based payment technology differ from NFC? How does it work? They are not mutually exclusive. You need an NFC phone to be able to communicate with the POS terminal. The SIM is being used to securely store the users card details. This could be the SIM or the embedded chip on the phone. We have chosen to use the SIM. Irrespective of where the card details are securely stored, the NFC capabilities of the phone are needed to communicate with the POS terminal.

How long is the trial period? The trial period is three months.

What will you do once the trial is finished? We will use the customer experience and technology learnings from the pilot to design and deliver Mobile Payments products and solutions for our customers.

How can people register their interest in this? We are not registering customer interest in this at the moment. When this solution is made available for customers it will be an additional payment option that our customers will be offered.

Why aren't you using the NFC technology already built into phones like the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy SIII? The solution is using the inbuilt NFC technology of the Samsung Galaxy SIII. There are no additional hardware requirements to make it work. We have created an application so that the user can make the payment and added their Debit MasterCard details onto the SIM. The inbuilt NFC in the phone then enables the card details to be securely transmitted to the Point of Sale Terminal.

Will this ever be available for iPhone? Are you testing that? Android is currently being used as it is NFC capable. We are actively engaging in building payment capabilities across all mobile phone technology and recently launched a Mobile PayWay product specifically for Apple iPhone.

Image: Junpei Abe



    So is this going to have a telco partner or all telco's? Do you get it from westpac, or your telco?

    and how will they make them micros sim cards

      That's what I was thinking. No doubt some how Apple will prevent it or make others pay for it .ao they won't do it.

        apple did not invent the microsim, and the iphone isn't the only phone using it, so how will apple prevent it?

          Stop trying to apply logic. You have to HATE Apple just because ;)

          i cut out a micro sim to put in my friends motorola razr xt910 the other day...

    Google Wallet will have no chance when it hits Australia unless it releases its product before an iWallet and all the banks get their users to use their versions.

    I would switch to westpac so fast it would make CBA vomit.

    Now all they need is a decent password system for their internet banking.

      That's probably never going to happen. While I was working for westpac I had ideas to make it more secure, and I was always shot down, and basically told that the customers were to dumb to handle any changes to IB login :(

    - Optus provides a phone SIM card securely programmed with Debit MasterCard details
    - Users insert SIM card into a Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone
    - The smartphones use the Google Android Westpac TAP app
    - To pay for goods up to $100, users tap the phone against a credit card reader at the check-out
    - Phone transactions are listed in the app for closer inspection
    ~ source: news.com.au (*shudder*)

      Don't feel dirty, Ben! I've got more details coming real soon.

    From what I've heard the SIM contains a security element only, but will require your phone to have NFC capabilities , hence trials on Android platform only, as Iphone's have no NFC chip+Antenna yet.

      Yeah, it actually says that above. You need the S3s NFC tech to communicate with the pos terminal.

    This is the Technology that MS are putting into Windows Phone 8 Wallet function.. NICE.

    your article says "nor do you have to worry about whether or not your device has NFC.". then in the Q&A says "Irrespective of where the card details are securely stored, the NFC capabilities of the phone are needed to communicate with the POS terminal. ". Might want to update the main article text to reflect the actual state of things.

    Microsim's are coming September.

    The coordination between the telcos and finance institutions are what makes these ideas hard.

    I don't see why they d bother tbh ... NFC seems pretty solid.

    You obviously didn't read Westpac answers to your own questions before writing this article. Ridiculous

    That's so annoying! YES gizmodo you WILL need an nfc enabled phone.

    its good to see this trial and i hope we see NFC payments in the near future, but i dont think it would be smart if optus only included 1 bank if they do decide to launch together, maybe they could have the optus of having multiple apps from different banks which i think would be better or they (optus) could have there own branded app and parnter with westpac and other aussie banks when they come on broad, the other option is that westpac could become are MVNO and resell optus service but i dont think a large bank really wants to do that

    The Galaxy SIII uses a microsim so microsim support is a given as the test is built around the GSIII

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