Commonwealth Bank rolls out contactless terminals and cards

Sydney, 15 October 2009:  From October onwards, MasterCard PayPass® and Visa payWave cardholders paying for goods less than $100 need only tap their debit or credit card on a Commonwealth Bank contactless reader to transact at selected IGA and Red Rooster stores, and Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.

Commonwealth Bank Executive General Manager Business Products and Development, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, said providing both retailers and customers with more convenient payment options and faster transaction times has been a major focus for the Bank.

“Building on the three million Commonwealth Bank MasterCard PayPass cards in market, we are closely working with merchants to bolster the number of contactless terminals.  We plan to have more than 2,000 terminals by the end of the year and with a terminal base of more than 160,000, we have the potential for tens of thousands of acceptance points to be installed in the next 12 months.”

Contactless transactions take place in seconds – customers need only tap their PayPass or payWave card on a contactless reader – with no PIN or signature required. 

“For high volume retail environments, such as coffee shops, grocery stores and newsagents, where transaction values are low and speed of service is essential, the contactless solution is ideal for merchants.  The entire process takes just a few seconds, so it is actually faster than cash,” said Ms Bayer Rosmarin.

MasterCard’s Australasian Executive Vice President Eddie Grobler said this announcement strengthens the leadership of MasterCard and the Commonwealth Bank in launching innovative payments solutions which meet the evolving needs of consumers.

“Together, we were the first to pilot contactless technology in Australia and fully roll out contactless debit and credit cards. And now, together, we are the first to have a complete issuing and acquiring solution.”

Payment details are securely exchanged using short-range wireless technology between a point-of-sale device and contactless card, with cardholders protected from fraudulent transactions just as they are with any normal payment, making the contactless payment option a convenient alternative to cash.

"Consumers have the same security as a standard credit or debit card transaction. Just because you don't put in a PIN or sign, it doesn't mean you have any less protection — you have the same right to dispute transactions,” added Ms Bayer Rosmarin.

"The merchant also has the same protection as if there were a signature or a PIN.”

Merchant benefits

  1. Speed. One of the key benefits of contactless for merchants is speed. A contactless card reader linked to a point of sale system can process transactions in two to three seconds, compared to 10 to 15 seconds for cash. When multiplied by the hundreds or thousands of small-value transactions a merchant may process each day, the benefits soon add up.
  2. More transactions. Contactless systems are designed for smaller purchases that consumers are often reluctant to put on traditional cards, therefore attracting customers who may have walked away as they did not have cash available.
  3. Larger transactions. Research has found that contactless transactions values are typically between 28% and 42% larger than cash transactions.
  4. Less cash on hand. Contactless systems are designed to replace small cash transactions.  Merchants can therefore keep less cash on the premises, making their business more secure and reducing the scope for error during cash handling. Reconciliation is also simplified.


Media looking for more information, contact:

Sarah Gibbons             

Commonwealth Bank

Ph: (02) 9378 5096