Westpac is trialling mobile payments using host card emulation (HCE) in New Zealand, the first bank in the country to do so.

The three month trial will use Carta Worldwide HCE technology, which enables credit and debit card details to be stored in the cloud environment and accessible from the user’s Android smartphone.

Westpac’s chief product officer, Shane Howell, hoped the trial will lead to a digital wallet being available to customers early next year, saying: "We already use our smartphones to organise so many aspects of our lives, so using them to make payments is just a natural extension of this.

"This is the first of four key components we are looking to develop that will make up a digital wallet for Westpac customers.

"The other components we are looking to incorporate are transport cards for buses and trains, loyalty programmes such as Hotpoints and potentially even forms of ID like a driver’s license. What we’re working towards is a true digital wallet experience that is safe and easy to use."

According to Howell, Westpac is also planning to go live with PayTag in October, which enables mobile contactless payments via a sticker placed on customers’ handsets.

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The lender places a high importance on the mobile channel, releasing a report late last year which found that the rate at which New Zealanders have adopted mobile banking is seven times faster than online banking.

Of the total customers surveyed, 41% believed that mobile banking will lead the banking sector in next three years, while 66% said it will continue for five years

Earlier in the year, Westpac and handset manufacturer Samsung agreed to partner over banking technologies.

Samsung is to provide Westpac with early access to its new devices such as tablets, smartphones, finger scanner and smart TVs.

The move will allow the lender to collaborate with Samsung and develop financial applications and services before the devices are available for purchase.


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