Optus Launches New Contactless Payment App For NFC Smartphones

Cash by Optus is the latest mobile payments solution to enter the local market and the first to be offered by an Australian telco. Like other contactless payment systems, it allows customers to instantly pay for goods and services below $100 with their Android devices. Best of all, the service isn't tied to a specific bank and uses your phone's inbuilt NFC which means no sticker is required. Hurrah!

Singapore picture from Shutterstock

Cash by Optus is the fruit of a new partnership with Visa and Heritage Bank. It allows customers on a monthly Optus mobile plan to replace cash purchases with Near Field Communication (NFC) and Visa payWave technology. The app can be linked to any Australian bank account.

The service requires an NFC SIM card that will be sent out upon request, as well as the Cash by Optus app which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. (Both products are provided free of charge.) Naturally, you'll also need a compatible Android smartphone -- head to Cash by Optus' website to check if your phone is supported.

See also: Is Apple Ruining NFC Payments For Everyone?

In a similar vein to online payment services like PayPal, Cash by Optus requires users to load funds from their bank account into the application. The banking aspect of the app is handled by the aforementioned Heritage Bank. Once your account has been topped up with funds, you can also use it to make online purchases of up to $250.

According to Optus' VP of mobile marketing, Ben White, Cash by Optus is the first in a range of new contactless applications that are waiting in the pipeline. These will cover specific areas like public transport.

In terms of security, Cash by Optus uses the international EMV chip standard; the same used for Visa payWave transactions. Your account can also be closed upon request your balance returned (if your phone gets stolen, for instance).

Cash by Optus is available now. If you're one of the first 10,000 customers to sign up, Optus will also credit your Cash by Optus account with $15.

[Via Optus]

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Comments

    So far only available for Samsung Galaxy phones or HTC One M7.

      Ah, that's as stupid as the Commbank NFC stuff, which is Samsung only. (And if correct, should well and truly have been in the article.)

      According to the Cash by Optus website, there are more than 20 compatible phones atm. While most are Samsung, there are a few LG, HTC and Sony models as well.

    I have a Galaxy Note 3, but it's an N900, whereas optus reckons the N9005 and N9007 are compatible, but the N900 is not mentioned. What's the deal with this?

      Samsung like others release are specific models. My s3 I forget the model know was the international model and there are some firmware and hardware variations between them.

      Does the N900 uses a Nano SIM? It can't be used with a Nano SIM

    Looking at the list of compatible phones, and the ones that aren't listed, it appears if the phone uses a Nano SIM, you can't get it. Hopefully they make it available on Nano SIM devices.

    First you say that the service uses the phone's built-in NFC:
    "the service... uses your phone’s inbuilt NFC which means no sticker is required. Hurrah!"

    Then you say it needs a special NFC SIM:
    "The service requires an NFC SIM card that will be sent out upon request"

    Just to clarify, are these two points contradictory, or you actually need *both* a compatible phone featuring NFC and the Optus NFC SIM? Seems redundant unless there's some security requirement I'm not understanding.

    The NFC sim card is a security measure. I'm not quite clear on how exactly it works but Apple gets around it by building the element into their phones. The NFC chip (embedded in the phone) is what makes the reader transfer information with your phone.

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