ANZ: Contactless trial fails

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After ANZ Bank concluded a trial of contactless, phone-based NFC payments in April, the bank has revealed it won’t be pursuing the technology in its current form.

The bank, in partnership with Visa, launched a trial in March where a MicroSD card pre-programmed with a user’s banking details could be inserted into an NFC-enabled phone case on iPhones and Android-handsets. Users could then open an app on the phone to be used in conjunction with Visa PayWave readers – writes Luke Hopewell.

ANZ Bank told ZDNet Australia that the MicroSD card system used in the trials didn’t measure up to the bank’s needs. “We have found in our research that our participants strongly supported contactless payment as a convenient way to pay, but the MicroSD technology did not meet all of our requirements,’ said an ANZ spokesperson.

“At this stage, we will not be progressing with MicroSD as a contactless payment technology platform, but we will continue to look for ways to support contactless payments in the market.”

It is unclear at this stage whether or not the bank will look towards native NFC technology like the Samsung Nexus S or the recently announced Nokia N9 for future trials, but said that it is still committed to the technology.

“Overall, we found the trial extremely useful as it confirmed that customers like to use contactless for low-value transactions under $100. Contactless is an extremely exciting piece of innovative technology and we’re looking forward to seeing how we can implement it for our customers in the future,” ANZ added.

ANZ and Visa launched the trial for 50 of its Sydney and Melbourne staff in March with a technology developed by DeviceFidelity (MPW 130, 143, 147).

Rumours have been swirling as to whether or not Apple will include NFC in the upcoming iPhone 5, a decision that PayPal director of mobile Laura Chambers believes will delay mainstream uptake should Apple decide to forego the contactless payment technology. You need that first trigger for [retailers and merchants] to follow,” she said.

Google last month took the covers off of its phone-based payments system, aptly named Google Wallet. Sadly, Google Wallet services won’t be coming down under anytime in the foreseeable future. “It’s a field test in the US only, and we look forward to sharing more news when we have it,” Google Australia told ZDNet Australia in a statement.