Deal Tech

Near-field com­mu­ni­ca­tions and smart­phones are about to take the cash­less so­ci­ety to a new level

The Australian - The Deal - - First Up - Skeeve Stevens Con­tact: skeeve@skeevestevens.com or follow Skeeve on @the­n­ear­fu­tur­ist

New smart­phones are about el­e­vate the cash­less so­ci­ety to a new level.

IF 2014 was the year of the smart­phone, 2015 is shap­ing up as the year when pay­ing by mo­bile phone will be­come part of our daily lives.

Over the past 18 months Aus­tralia has em­braced con­tact­less pay­ment sys­tems such as PayPass, PayWave and other near-field com­mu­ni­ca­tion re­lated tech­nolo­gies. The end­ing of sig­na­tures in Au­gust pushed the lag­gards to get PIN’s and re­place­ment cards that fea­ture the lat­est se­cu­rity tech­nol­ogy. This year also saw mo­bile pay­ments made di­rectly from Smart­phones us­ing NFC (and stick­ers) by banks such as Com­mon­wealth Bank and West­pac have been in­creas­ingly gain­ing trac­tion dur­ing 2014. Now that is all about to be tur­bocharged. Ap­ple launched Ap­ple Pay in April, its at­tempt to catch-up and gain dom­i­nance in the mo­bile pay­ments mar­ket. It was launched in part­ner­ship with Visa and MasterCard and will be rolled out across mil­lions of stores world­wide over the com­ing months but some US chains such as Wal­mart have said they will not support it as they want to de­velop their own.

Then there was last month’s big launch of the iPhone 6. With Ap­ple pre-sell­ing four mil­lion of the new phones world­wide and sell­ing mil­lions more in stores over the past month, this is all about to pop­u­late the mo­bile pay­ments world with many mil­lions of de­vices – and, more im­por­tantly, give con­sumers a crash course on mo­bile pay­ments.

The launch of Ap­ple Pay also in­cluded a fea­ture that no-one could have fore­seen – to­kens. Think of a to­ken as an on­de­mand (gen­er­ated by you) ad­di­tional credit card num­ber you can use for a spe­cific pur­pose, on­line pur­chases or even at a spe­cific store. To­kens can be set to ex­pire after a sin­gle pur­chase and re­voked at any time. This is a sig­nif­i­cant move for­ward in se­cu­rity with Visa, MasterCard and Amer­i­can Ex­press sup­port­ing the plat­form.

Ap­ple Pay will kick-start the NFC pay­ment revo­lu­tion that will see most of us us­ing our smart­phones to com­plete pur­chases by the end of 2015 – if not sooner.

As part of the Ap­ple Pay plat­form, Ap­ple also an­nounced at the launch a part­ner­ship with ho­tel chain Star­wood (Westin, Sher­a­ton, W) where you will be able to use your iPhone 6 or an Ap­ple Watch to open your ho­tel room. Ex­pect more prod­uct and more ho­tels to come on board quickly so they can re­main part of the “cool club”. This has sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial for many other business ap­pli­ca­tions – cin­ema tick­ets, air­line board­ing passes and pub­lic trans­port, for ex­am­ple. I see a mas­sive num­ber of ac­ces­sories be­ing re­leased such as door locks, car-key re­place­ments, swipe cards (like you have at the of­fice – but as an app on your phone), and any­thing that uses NFC tech­nol­ogy to­day. The new gen­er­a­tion smart phones are not just about mak­ing con­tact but they are chang­ing the way we do business.

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