BNZ launches Android Pay

After Semble's payment service fell over, BNZ was left without a mobile wallet.

But today it rectifies this by announcing it is the first bank in New Zealand to launch Android Pay, available to its customers with an NFC-enabled Android smartphone, the BNZ banking app and a Visa debit card.

The app allows users to pay retailers by holding their phones to an EFTPOS terminal which accepts contactless payments. Approximately 16,000 merchants have this capability, including The Warehouse, Domino’s, BP, BurgerFuel, McDonald's.

Transactions for more than $80 need PIN approval.

BNZ director of products and technology David Bullock says there are “tens of thousands” of potential users because Android has a 50% market share in New Zealand.

He refused to comment on when BNZ customers with an Apple phone will be able to join the mobile wallet revolution (ANZ is the only bank to have launched Apple Pay).

Google head of payments products Pali Bhat says the company is "working closely with partners to make Android Pay available to their customers – and look forward to welcoming more banks, shops, networks and apps in 2017."

Mr Bullock says debit cards were chosen instead of credit cards because they are typically used for small transactions, but says BNZ has “lots of plans for 2017 around our digital payments future.”

He says it was disappointing the partners of Semble (Paymark, 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone) didn’t “come to play” but a lot was learned. Paymark is cooperatively owned by ANZ, ASB Bank, BNZ and Westpac.

Semble's main stumbling block was the requirement for people to get a new SIM card and download an app. With Android Pay, it’s just the latter.

In February next year, Visa Checkout will launch and integrate with Android Pay. This product allows faster online transactions by saving payment and shipping information for selected merchants.

“When you’re going through an e-commerce transaction and go to check out, rather than putting in your card details, it’s a simple click of the button,” he says.

For security, Mr Bullock says Android Pay uses host card emulation (HCE) technology, which creates a new “token” every time a payment is made.

“Which means the credit card details are not passed so it’s very safe,” he says.

ANZ launched its own Android mobile wallet in December last year, while ASB did the same in June.

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