Australian telecommunication network, Optus has announcedthat it is launching a new wearable payment service for smartwatches andwristbands that will allow customers to make NFC based contactless paymentswith a flick of their wrist.
The move follows a November 2014 announcement that saw Optusunveil a prepaid contactless payment app that uses NFC and Visa payWavetechnology to pay for cash purchases below $100. However, the service is onlyavailable to people with one of 20 Android handsets with an NFC-enabled SIMmeaning that the reach of the service is greatly limited.
Commenting on the announcement, Ben White, VP, mobilemarketing, Optus said, “The biggest frustration came from our iPhone customerswho wanted to try Cash by Optus, but didn’t have a compatible phone. That’s whywe’re developing this wearable technology, which is designed to work on bothApple and Android smartphones.”
While Optus may be trying to reach a broader section of thepopulation given the limits on their mobile prepaid account, the decision tolaunch a service that focuses on wearables is surprising as this marketrepresents only a small niche today. Moving forward this might change but Optusmay struggle to see significant uptick in the near future.
Overview by Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director, Global Payments for Mercator Advisory Group
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