by Jennifer O'Brien

ANZ takes ‘line honours’ in rolling out Android Pay across Australia

Jul 14, 2016
Technology Industry

ANZ has taken the wraps off Android Pay in concert with Google, making it the first major bank to launch the contactless payment solution to its five million customers in Australia.

The launch of Android Pay follows on the heels of ANZ’s first-to-launch rollout of the Apple Pay contactless payment solution back in April.

“Being the first major bank in Australia able to offer Android Pay is another important milestone for ANZ as we work to build the best digital bank for our customers,” said ANZ CEO, Shayne Elliott.

ANZ customers can now use Android Pay to make purchases wherever contactless payments are accepted with either an ANZ Visa debit or credit card, or an ANZ American Express credit card. The bank said Mastercard cards were expected to follow quickly.

“I see a future where [mobile] will displace plastic. This is not very far away. The technology already exists today. We could get you a card and have it only sit on your phone – it’s a realistic aspiration that’s not very far away.”

Google senior director product management, Pali Bhat, said the simplicity and security of the technology are two key features of the mobile payments system.

“Using Android Pay is more secure – and much faster – than rummaging through your wallet for a plastic card. Starting today, people will be able to use their Android device to pay at almost 800,000 contactless payment terminals in Australia.”

Calling the launch a “big milestone,” Bhat said customers are already receptive to this type of technology – and he expects a big uptake by both consumers and merchants.

“Consumer behaviour is already trained towards using contactless. I see this as a tipping point for mobile payments. The challenge we always have is the need for it to be broadly available. But look at the key ingredients – Android Pay is available on a vast number of devices, and you don’t have to buy something new. With merchants, it’s ubiquitous.

“I could come to Australia – land, spend a week, fly back – without having done anything other than paying with Android Pay. I expect to see this taking off,” he said.

“We won’t see everyone try it on the first day, but then it becomes sticky then and you see a wave of people using it. We see it rivalling cards in future – absolutely.” In terms of the logistics, ANZ customers with an eligible Android device can now choose Android Pay or ANZ Mobile Pay at retailers that accept contactless payments anywhere in Australia.

Android devices with the KitKat operating system or later can use Android Pay through the Near Field Communication chip in the phone or tablet to make purchases.

On the security front, Android Pay uses tokenisation security to generate a unique number for each purchase so customer card details are never actually shared with the retailer directly.

Asked whether the company is late to establish a marketplace for the technology, ANZ’s Elliott used a cricket analogy.

“From our perspective, we won the toss and we like to be first. We like to be a leader – it’s a long game and long way to go; this is only the beginning, but we want to be engaged and part of that right from the start – and put our energies on being first.”

A number of other banks also launched Android Pay today, including Macquarie Bank, Bank of Sydney, The Rock, and QT Mutual Bank – with others to follow.

Additionally, customers with American Express issued cards (consumer, corporate and small business) as well as those with ANZ American Express cards have access to Android Pay today.

“We’ve made it a priority to offer our customers flexibility and choice in how they want to pay, and adding Android Pay to our digital payment portfolio means that all of our customers with an American Express issued card and eligible smartphone can make a secure and fast payment with their mobile device,” said Julie Nestor, vice-president of customer marketing and experiences, American Express A/NZ.

“With the launch of Android Pay today, American Express is the only card issuer in Australia to offer Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay to American Express Card Members. We’re about giving our customers more options in how they choose to pay and earn rewards, without dictating the device they use,” Nestor said.

Additional reporting by CIO senior journalist George Nott.