Monday, 04 December 2017 01:12

REVIEW: Apple Pay finally comes to Bendigo Bank in Australia


I noticed yesterday on the home page of Bendigo Bank that Apple Pay had finally arrived, so I set it up, which was effortless, and I've been using it via Apple Watch since!

Apple Pay has finally come to Bendigo Bank, which saves me from moving to ANZ or any other financial institution that offers it to end users in Australia, and I'm glad that it has arrived at long last.

You can use it with Bendigo Bank's credit and debit Mastercards.

Apple Pay has been available for years overseas on iPhones and Apple Watches, and with major bank ANZ since late April 2016, and with the last couple of iOS versions hassling you to set it up in the OS update or new iPhone purchase activation procedure, it has been annoying to have to skip through it because Bendigo didn't offer it yet, and I didn't want to move financial institutions.

It's a very interesting move because Bendigo Bank joined CBA, NAB and Westpac in a failed bid to the ACCC to force Apple to allow those banks to have access to Apple's NFC chip with their own apps, and to bargain collectively with Apple.

This was rejected by the ACCC in late March this year, and thus with Bendigo Bank making its move, the long slow slog for iPhone and Apple Watch owners who bank with the remaining holdout banks of the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac continues, as they fail to do the right thing by their customers and come to individual deals with Apple to make Apple Pay available.

Presumably because Bendigo Bank has broken ranks, the announcement of Apple Pay's availability to Bendigo Customers hasn't been shouted from the rooftops – its launch has been very quiet indeed.

As a customer, I received no notification, and there was no press release in my inbox. I only knew because I found it at Bendigo Bank's home page by accident, as I don't often go there, doing my electronic banking by phone far more often than by browser.

So, I searched Google News for "Apple Pay Bendigo Bank" and nothing came up!

I searched for the same string, and I see all of Bendigo Bank's pages about it.

Typing in "Bendigo Bank" into Google News brings up a Finder article and another from EFTM on 27 November, but that's it – clicking "view all" brings up a page with a picture of a bird flying over trees in front of two mountains with the sun and clouds, as seen below, stating: "Sorry, there is no additional coverage at this time. Please try again later."

However, all of this checking was done on Sunday evening – after I'd enrolled for Apple Pay, which was an effortless procedure taking about a couple of minutes. 

Article continues below image, please read on!

To add my card to the system, I opened up Apple Wallet, and chose to add a card.

Apple Wallet already knew my card details, because it's the card I use with iTunes, and asked if I wanted to use this card.

Because it was the one already on file, there was no need for me to type in numbers, or use the camera so the phone could read the numbers – they were already in the system.

To proceed, I had to to receive a verification code via text message to enter and continue.

I entered the code, and it worked! My card was now ready to use with Apple Pay on my iPhone.

From memory, a notification popped up on the iPhone to see if I wanted to use it on my Apple Watch as well, which I naturally did.

Another verification code was sent through, and entered in, and voila – my Apple Watch was now enabled, too.

So far, I used it Saturday night and then a few times on Sunday, making various purchases of fuel and food.

Normally I'd have taken out my card out, but instead, I double tapped the Apple Watch's flat button, which brought up a Mastercard with the colour and branding my card has, and waited for me to bring it to the face of the payment terminal so an NFC transaction could take place.

I haven't tried using Face ID to authenticate me for such a purpose yet because my phone has been in my pocket, and it has been great to experience the watch tapping payment capability, which I'll primarily be using from now on whenever I need to make a Tap and Go payment.

I know that Face ID works, as I use it with various apps multiple times a day, and I've seen how it is supposed to work with Face ID and an iPhone X, or with Touch ID, so I'll test it out soon, but so far, via Apple Watch, it has worked perfectly.

I know there are still payment terminals in the US that don't support NFC chips, making it necessary to insert the card or swipe it, but it's everywhere in Australia, so now that I have Apple Pay, I will be using it!

As advertised, it is more convenient, it is safer, it is definitely faster than going for my wallet to extract the card, and it works as advertised.

It's refreshing when a system works so simply and well, and actually delivers a genuine improvement on the security of the unencrypted nature of "tapping and going" or "paywaving" with a regular card, which I protect in my wallet from skimming using an Aussie-invented ArmourCard.

So, thank you Bendigo Bank, for finally making Apple Pay available! I wish you had done it much sooner, but better late than never.

I don't know how much longer Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac customers have to wait, but I hope it's not too long.

It's only of interest to Apple users, although not all banks support Android Pay or Samsung Pay yet either, but the growth in supporting various electronic wallets continues in banks and financial institutions around the world, so it's really just a matter of time before at least all the major ones are supported by pretty much everyone.

Until then, may you always have a way to pay – and play!

More information on Apple Pay at Bendigo Bank here.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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