Oberthur revealed today that its Trusted Service Manager platform was being used in the trial and Optus confirmed it was Westpac’s telecommunications partner for the trial. If the trial is successful it will mean that Westpac will be able to offer contactless payments using Near Field Communications technology from any Android phone regardless of its form factor – in the past that has been one of the barriers slowing banks from offering NFC enabled cases which can quickly turn Android smartphones into contactless payment devices.
Oberthur’s Trusted Service Manager platform however does away with the need for an NFC chip as such.
Used for post-personalisation of chip enabled credit and debit cards the platform essentially gathers data from a chip card and relays that to other secure locations. Because the technology in an EMV chip card is functionally very similar to that in a SIM card – even down to the operating system – it is possible to programme the card details into the secure element of the SIM card (with the co-operation of the issuing telecommunications carrier – Optus in this case).
In the Westpac pilot a participant's debit MasterCard information is encoded on the SIM card in the phone. The Mobile Payment Application is loaded onto the phone, and when making a payment, the phone connects the NFC antenna which is inside the phone to the SIM card and allows a contactless payment to occur. The Mobile Payment Application does not require any additional hardware to make it work.
In a media release issued by Oberthur, Roswell Wolff, managing director Asia, said that the trial was an important milestone for Westpac and was; “One of the first and most recent times where an Australian financial institution is not utilising bridging technologies such as NFC-enabled phone cases, microSD’s, or stickers to facilitate mobile NFC payments.”
Daryl Babus, head of mobile payments, at Westpac said that the mobile payment application is the bank’s first integrated solution involving a fully functional SIM card inside an NFC enabled smartphone. The bank had previously trialled an NFC sticker to gauge interest.
What about the iPhone? Read on