Visa, Eftpos and Bendigo Bank said enabling mobile payments is a critical part of their near-term business strategies.
Officials from each company previewed their mobile strategies at the CeBIT Future of Payments conference today in Sydney.
Plastic cards as the only form of cashless payment could soon be a thing of the past, said Vipin Kalra, Visa country manager for Australia. "Any device that is intelligent and mobile and connected could be potentially be the origination point for a mobile payment."
Visa has made a "significant investment" in a mobile near-field communications (NFC) ecosystem and new infrastructure for remote payments, Kalra said.
Visa is working to with all three top Australian telcos and several handset manufacturers to move its payWave contactless payments to mobile late this year or early next, he said.
The company also plans to release an online digital wallet called V.me in Australia by Christmas that will let customers pay e-commerce merchants with any debit or credit card.
The two modes of payments--mobile payWave and the online V.me--will not stay separate forever, said Kalra. "We think eventually both of them will collide on a mobile device."
Visa at one time considered payment hardware for the home that would have attached to the keyboard and let consumers insert their Visa card to make online payments, Kalra revealed. However, he said Visa abandoned the idea with the advent of cloud-based payments.
"You don't need a physical piece of plastic in hand when you can easily go to the cloud because of the online connectivity these days."
Eftpos realises that it must innovate or risk a significant reduction in the number of payments over its platform, said Eftpos CEO Bruce Mansfield. "Doing nothing is not an option."
Last week, Eftpos announced it was building a centralised payments hub that will speed up rollout of future products including Eftpos contactless. In May, the company said it was trialling a mobile digital wallet using NFC and other payment technologies.
Mansfield said the trials will continue until the end of the year. Eftpos will roll out mobile and online payments soon after it finishes work on contactless and chip payments, he said, with all of that work to take place over the next one to two years.
Online and mobile must be considered together as a single service, Mansfield said. "We cannot build one without the other."
In addition, the Eftpos CEO said he believes consumers will expect that mobile wallets include multiple payment products, possibly from multiple payment companies.
Bendigo Bank is trialling a mobile payments service called Redy with two small communities in Victoria. Transactions are quick, secure and, importantly, provide useful information to the merchant it would not have received from a traditional payment.
"There has to be value beyond the transaction," said David Joss, CEO of Community Telco, a subsidiary of Bendigo Bank that provides telecom services. Existing types of payment are already convenient, he said.
The Redy service currently relies on QR codes for payments and transaction times are under two seconds, he said. While Bendigo has chosen QR for its universality, the bank might review other payment technologies in the future, he said.
Feedback in the first four months of the Redy trial is encouraging, Joss said. The main criticism from merchants has been that there are not enough consumers making mobile payments, while the main criticism from consumers has been that there are not enough merchants accepting the mobile payments, he said.
Bendigo plans to make a more detailed announcement about the Redy service later this year, he said.
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