Vodafone, Visa launch NFC wallet in Australia

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Vodafone and Visa have joined forces to preview a new near-field communication (NFC) payment product for smartphones, demoing the Vodafone SmartPass app in Sydney before its commercial release next year.

The Vodafone SmartPass app in action. The red tab at the bottom of the screen can be hidden so that your balance isn't visible to all around you.
(Credit: CBSi)

The new service will allow Vodafone customers to make payments at Visa PayWave terminals using their NFC-capable smartphones. The SmartPass app is the software component of this service, which also requires a new SIM card with payment security built in.

Working in unison with the security on the SIM card, the app features a number of user-controlled protections, including a PIN for transactions of over AU$100 and a separate, optional pass code for locking access to the app. Transactions require the user to initiate the payment by using a virtual button on the SmartPass interface, limiting the risk of unintentional transactions occurring.

On top of these technical layers of security, all transactions are protected by Visa's Zero Liability policy.

Unlike existing virtual wallet systems that are available in other parts of the world, SmartPass does not directly associate a credit source with the user's account. Instead, customers choose to top up their SmartPass account with funds from any MasterCard or Visa credit card account. Automatic top-ups can be scheduled, or customers can manually top up their account.

Vodafone will pre-install the SmartPass app on new compatible smartphones from early next year. It estimates that 80 per cent of its range next year will be NFC ready, excluding the iPhone 5. Customers who already own NFC-enabled hardware can take up the new service by upgrading their SIM cards. Since the SmartPass account is associated with the SIM and not the handset, customers will be able to easily swap handsets and take their SmartPass accounts with them.

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Lily Xu posted a comment   

NFC Tag is a trend in the future, since Samsung TecTile make the NFC Tags more attractive by the Mobile Manufacturer, almost all the smart phone including Sony, Samsung, Nokia,HTC, OPPO, Huawei, ZET have the phones support NFC application. As a NFC Tag manufacture which cooperate with these Mobile Leaders , we will also try our best to improve the NFC Technology in this field.


Toei622 posted a comment   

This is quite good news because if you've spent a bit of time in countries such as Japan, Korea and some European countries, you'd see how NFC has been involved in people's lives. You can pay bus/train/flight tickets with your smartphones, you can do your daily activities with your them. In Korea, you can also withdraw cash from ATMs just using your phone. I just hope that we're going to catch up the rest of the world.


Im Batman posted a comment   

this would almost be worthwhile doing a carrier swap with the Mrs's to voda.. but hopefully by that time Westpac has finished their trial and make it open to the three carriers...


LTLsisaleo posted a comment   

3 questions if we get a NFC sim wat happens to existing sim and 2nd will the smartpass be in conflict with other NFC stuff like the icarte or kaching? And if I have a icarte do I need the NFC sim ?


Joseph Hanlon posted a reply   

You will replace your existing SIM with a new NFC SIM to use this. At the moment, the app is only for Android and Voda is unlikely to support the iPhone with SmartPass unless next year's iPhone has NFC.

If you did end up with both Kaching and SmartPass installed on your phone, and you were using both services at different times, I don't imagine this would be a problem. Both apps require you to initiate a payment manually, and you couldn't be using both apps at the same time, as far as I know.


LTLsisaleo posted a reply   

ok. looks like i dont need the smartpass app then lol ill just use kaching until i move over to android. and if i do get a nfc sim when i get an android phone I wonder if it will work with kaching later down the track and how it will affect the commbank and its plans with kaching and android phones.


LTLsisaleo posted a reply   

and I wonder how it will compare to kaching?


Chandler posted a comment   

A viritual wallet that lets you access a virtual wallet... once funds are put in to your PayPass... I mean SmartPass wallet, can they also be taken out?

I also wonder how long before Mastercard kicks up a stick over the use of the "Pass" moniker...


Joseph Hanlon posted a reply   

I doubt they could lock the funds in and not let you return them to the original credit source. Vodafone have set up a web portal, and I'm guessing that functionality would be in there.

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