Commonwealth Bank trials mobile phones as credit card alternative

23 November 2007

The Commonwealth Bank has become the first Australian bank to trial near field communication (NFC) with contactless payment technology in mobile phones.

About 50 MasterCard® PayPass™ mobile phones were distributed among merchants and members of the media at the 2007 MasterCard Masters golf tournament at Huntingdale.

Today the phone was showcased to the Sydney media at the Blue Chair coffee shop in North Sydney.

The innovation effectively turns the mobile phones into credit cards, enabling the user to buy goods from merchants with MasterCard PayPass readers.

Participants were encouraged to use the phones to purchase everything from food and drink to souvenirs at any one of the retailers at the Huntingdale golf course … all of which had been set up with MasterCard PayPass readers.

According to the Executive General Manager Credit Cards, Stephen Karpin, MasterCard PayPass is now being used around the globe, including Asia/Pacific. As of Q3 2007, there are over 19 million MasterCard PayPass cards and devices in use at over 73,000 merchants worldwide.

The Commonwealth Bank has already begun issuing contactless credit cards. The mobile phone is a natural progression.

"We’re really excited about being the first Australian Bank to actually trial a contactless payment solution using NFC mobile phone technology to the Australian marketplace," Mr Karpin said.

"The phone trial is an exciting way to showcase the technology and give everyone an indication of where payment technology is heading."

He said the Bank would continue to trial the phones after the golf had finished.

"The showcase of MasterCard PayPass using NFC mobile phone technology at the MasterCard Masters and the ongoing trial by Commonwealth Bank provides enormous opportunities for Australian retailers and consumers," said Leigh Clapham, executive vice president, Australasia, MasterCard Worldwide.

"The trial by Commonwealth Bank is exciting as payments technology continues to advance globally. MasterCard is the global leader in the development of contactless technology and has already launched MasterCard PayPass in mobile phones overseas," Mr Clapham added.

The phones use the PayPass protocol to transmit data from the phone to the PayPass reader. Cardholders simply tap the phone against the MasterCard PayPass reader on a merchant counter, wait for a beep, and the purchase is complete.

"Similar to the Commonwealth Bank MasterCard PayPass card, no signature or PIN is required for transactions of up to $35. The whole transaction takes place in seconds," Mr Karpin said.

"This is exciting technology with huge potential applications, from shopping at the corner store, to paying at a ‘drive thru’ to accessing sporting events. We are very proud to continue to lead innovation in payments technology, being the first in Australia to launch contactless payments and now the first with new mobile contactless payments."



For more information, contact:

Michael Gleeson
Executive Manager, Media and Issues Management
Marketing and Communications
Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Phone: (02) 9378 5965 / Mobile: 0400 096 924