The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) rolled out on Thursday its tap-and-go service for mobile phone that would deliver users a next-generation shopping experience and makes paying for everyday goods and services simpler, making signatures or PINs unnecessary.
The service, which CBA claims it is the first lender to offer it, would allow owners of Samsung Galaxy S4 phones to make secure and contactless payments at over 200,000 terminals across the country and 1.6 million merchant locations globally, using MasterCard's PayPass near-field communications (NFC) technology, by just touching their smartphone the terminals.
With the Thursday launch, CBA beat fellow Aussie bank Westpac which plans to introduce a similar app in 2014. Like CBA's tap-and-go service, Westpac's version would benefit Android smartphone owners only since the Cupertino-based tech giant excluded NFC technology on its latest iPhone models.
ANZ Bank is likewise testing a tap-and-go mobile app.
The tap-and-go system is an improvement from CBA's previous app that allowed iPhone owners to make payments using its Kaching app, which needs a third-party case that costs A$54.95 and works only on iPhone 4 and 4S models.
The iOS version of the app will be available by the end of January 2014. To work, it would rely on A$2.95 PayTags that uses a sticker to replicate PayPass technology found in credit cards and addresses problems of certain models of smartphones that don't have or has unsuitable NFC hardware, which is not the case for Android-OS powered devices.
However, only S4 that are of the GT-19505 (LTE) and GTE-19507 (Plus) variants support the native NFC payments. The GT-19295 (Active) variant is not supported, but the GT-19506 (LTE-A) would eventually be supported in 2014 with the release on an update to the model's software.