Cash Still In The Payment Mix

A research discussion paper from the RBA – “How Australians Pay: Evidence from the 2016 Consumer Payments Survey” –  provides further evidence of the migration to electronic and digital payment mechanisms, but also underscores that cash remains a critical payment mechanism for many, especially in the older age groups. Given the fast adoption of mobile payments, the 2016 data will already be out of date!

Using data recorded information on around 17 000 day-to-day payments made by over 1 500 participants during a week, the report shows that Australian consumers continued to switch from paper-based ways of making payments such as cash and cheques, towards digital payment methods (particularly debit and credit cards). Cards were the most frequently used means of payment in the 2016 survey, overtaking cash for the first time. Contactless ‘tap and go’ cards are an increasingly popular way of making payments, displacing cash for many lower-value transactions.

 

Despite these trends, cash still accounts for a material share of consumer payments and is intensively used by some segments of the population.

Payments using a mobile phone at a card terminal are a relatively new feature of the payments system and this technology was not widely used at the time of the survey. However, consumers are increasingly using their mobile phones to make online and person-to-person payments. Similarly, consumers are using automatic payments, such as direct debits, more frequently.

 

ANZ is the first Big Four bank on both Samsung Pay and Apple Pay

From Business Insider.

ANZ has joined Samsung Pay, becoming the first of the big four Australian banks to be on all three major digital wallets.

The bank had already been the only one of the majors to be on Apple Pay and was already available on Android Pay.

“Samsung has strong device market share in Australia and many of our customers love its open approach to technology, so it made sense for us to work with them in bringing this convenient and secure mobile payments solution to our customers,” said ANZ product managing director Bob Belan.

ANZ joins Westpac and a range of smaller institutions on the Samsung platform, which allows contactless payments through selected Samsung smartphones and Gear smartwatches.

The Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac have resisted getting onto Apple Pay while they, along with some smaller banks, fought to negotiate collectively with Apple in order to gain access to the iPhone’s near-field communications (NFC) chip which would allow their own apps to make contactless payments.

Apple has denied the request, arguing access would be a security risk and accusing the banks of acting as a cartel to “free load” from its technology.

Meanwhile, former Google Australia boss and now ANZ digital banking head Maile Carnegie said in February that her company had no hesitation in joining Apple Pay.

“People were asking specifically for Apple Pay. They were asking specifically for Android Pay. And if that’s what they want, we needed to figure out the most pragmatic way of giving that to them,” she said at the time.

 “We could look back and say, ‘I wish that was us, I wish they wanted our digital wallet as much as they wanted [Apple Pay]’. But they didn’t.”

Belan also stuck to a similar line this week regarding Samsung Pay, citing customer demand.

“At ANZ, we believe our customers are best placed to make their own choices about which digital wallet works best for them,” he said.

The addition of ANZ now sees Samsung Pay have more than 40 Australian credit and debit card brands in its stable, along with more than 100 loyalty cards. Internationally the platform has more than 870 bank partnerships.

Will Apple Pay Win The Contactless Payment Wars?

New research suggests that Apple will dominate the OEM-Pay market over the next 4 years, leading Samsung, Google, and Others.

Data from fintech analysts, Juniper Research, estimates that the number of OEM-Pay contactless users, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay, will exceed 100 million for the first time during H1-2017, before surpassing 150 million by the end of this year.

According to the new research – Contactless Payments: NFC Handsets, Wearables & Payment Cards 2017-2021 – the combined market share of Apple, Samsung, and Google (via Android Pay), increased from 20% in 2015 to 41% in 2016, as a proportion of total mobile contactless payment users. Juniper forecasts that this will rise to 56% by 2021, as the trio’s combined user base exceeds 500 million.

 

Apple Pay & the US Wallet Opportunity

The research found that Apple Pay, and the alternative wallets that have followed in its wake, are set to establish themselves as the primary contactless mechanisms of choice in the US. However, the challenge facing Apple and its rivals is to ensure that the infrastructure is in place for consumers to make in-store payments.

“We believe that as contactless usage gains traction and consumers/merchants recognise the speed and convenience it offers, then, as in European markets, there will be a further and significant increase in availability at the point-of-sale”, added research author Nitin Bhas. Indeed, according to Apple, the proportion of US retailers supporting Apple Pay rose from 4% in 2014 to 35% in late 2016.

HCE Adoption to Rise 5-Fold Over the Next 4 Years

The research found that 2015/16 were watershed years for HCE (Host Card Emulation) in terms of commercial service rollouts. Juniper estimates that at least 194 banks had introduced such services by the end of 2016. Juniper expect PayPal, already near ubiquitous in the online space, to rapidly deploy a portfolio of contactless payment and loyalty solutions that will allow it to compete effectively for market share.

Westpac Now Offers Samsung Pay

From Gizmodo.

In the eternal war between Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, the world’s largest smartphone maker just scored another — minor — victory. Millions of customers from Australia’s second largest bank can now use Samsung’s phones and smartwatches instead of their credit and debit cards to pay at almost any NFC payment terminal around the country.

Although for the average user there’s not a great deal of difference, Samsung Pay is technically superior to Apple Pay or Android Pay in that — because it only works on a certain number of Samsung phones and Samsung’s Gear S2 and Gear S3 smartwatches — it can also emulate the MST magnetic strip on physical cards, which can be useful for payment terminals that don’t have NFC support already.

It’s also a convenient time for Samsung to switch on its newest feature — a NFC provisioning feature, which lets customers add cards into Samsung Pay by tapping them on the back of the phone, rather than taking a photo of the card itself with the phone or by — ugh — entering details manually.

Samsung already has Citibank’s Mastercard and Visa credit card holders on board, as well as American Express, so Westpac’s various debit and credit cards will massively bolster the roster of Samsung Pay payment methods available. Westpac customers will be able to add their cards to Samsung Pay from 8AM on Tuesday morning.

Westpac says:

You’re even more unstoppable with Westpac when you tap and pay using your Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, S5, S5 Mini, S4, Note 5, Note 4 Edge, Note 4, Note 3 or Alpha.

To start paying for everyday purchases with your smartphone, simply download the Westpac Mobile Banking app and choose which Westpac eligible credit and debit cards you’d like to use for mobile payments.

Apple Pay may have won the battle but it may not win the war

From The Conversation.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) decision to deny some of Australia’s major banks the ability to collectively bargain with Apple and boycott Apple Pay, might have opened a whole new door for digital wallets in Australia.

The banks wanted to bargain with Apple for access to the Near-Field Communication controller in iPhones, enabling them to offer their own integrated digital wallets to iPhone customers. This would have been in competition with Apple’s digital wallet, but without using Apple Pay.

A digital wallet is essentially an app on a mobile phone that can provide some of the same functions as a physical purse or wallet. This includes making payments in-store and storing information such as loyalty program points.

In the example of Apple Pay, it used a digital wallet to allow customers to use their phones like “tap-and-go” bank cards. Mobile payments can also be made via wearable devices, such as the Apple Watch and various fitness devices.

Part of the ACCC’s rationale in deciding on the banks/Apple case was that, “digital wallets and mobile payments are in their infancy and subject to rapid change”. So the ACCC is uncertain as to how competition will develop in this space.

The Australian market for digital wallets

Recent research from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) confirmed the use of mobile payments accounted for only around 1% of the number of point-of-sale transactions over the week of the survey, which was conducted in November 2016. By contrast, the same research revealed that the share of the number of payments made using credit and debit cards had increased to 52%, driven by the use of these payments cards for lower value transactions.

This has been facilitated by the rapid adoption of contactless payments by both consumers and merchants and according to the RBA’s research, in 2016 around one-third of all point-of-sale transactions were conducted using contactless cards.

According to the Australian Payments Clearing Association by 2016, 77% of Australians owned a smartphone and yet mobile payments at the point-of-sale remain relatively rare.

The very success of contactless payment cards in Australia means that consumers do not see what extra advantage there is in mobile payments. Tap-and-go is increasingly available for even relatively low value transactions at the point-of-sale. Financial institutions have been speedy to issue such cards to their customers and this is matched by merchant’s adoption of the terminals to facilitate these payments.

For mobile payments to become significantly more attractive than contactless card payments, it would require the wallets to have additional functionality to appeal to consumers. Examples of this include: the ability to use mobile payment devices on mass transit journeys, to hold loyalty program points, to verify identity and enabling person-to-person transactions.

This breakthrough in functionality for digital wallets could come from another direction, other than the current mobile payments options of Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. Indeed, China provides an alternative example of how digital wallets can be developed, that will in retrospect make the ACCC’s decision on Apple Pay, rather passe.

Tap-and-go payments are popular in Australia so digital wallets will have to offer more than contactless payments. David Crosling

Digital wallet companies expanding from China

According to Chinese government statistics, about 750 million Chinese had moved online by 2016, with 95% of them accessing the internet via their smartphones. China’s digital payments market was by then nearly 50 times greater than that in the United States.

This is partly explained by the lack of other viable alternatives in China for non-cash payments. Credit card penetration is low compared to other developed markets, debit cards are not contactless and hence require authentication at the point-of-sale.

China appears to have jumped directly from cash to mobile payments and hence missed the step into payment cards, particularly credit cards, to which the Chinese consumers appear to have a cultural aversion.

The use of digital wallets in China is being driven by the success of the so-called financial technology firms in China, particularly Alibaba and Tencent. These companies have a vast and protected domestic market at their disposal and an almost complete absence of data regulations.

These companies have been able to move on from offering just instant messaging platforms, to being payment providers via Alipay and WeChatPay, respectively. These apps on a smartphone allows consumers to scan a QR code from a merchants point-of-sale terminal or smartphone, to complete a transaction.

Person-to-person transfers can also be done through these apps. Chinese company Tencent’s WeChat was originally a social media platform, but it has now expanded to include payments services, music streaming, taxi booking, photo sharing and a news service, to name only a few functions.

Its over 800 million worldwide active users now have fewer and fewer reasons to leave its integrated full platform of services. WeChatPay is also increasingly accepted by bricks and mortar merchants in China.

And now WeChat is planning to expand its services into the UK and Europe and is also looking to enter markets in the United States and Southeast Asia. Part of the company’s planned expansion is driven by the ever-increasing flow of Chinese overseas tourists.

This flow was 120 million in 2015 and forecast to be 220 million by 2025. Australia is already a popular destination for Chinese tourists, many of whom will be users of WeChatPay.

Who is to say that Facebook and/or Amazon will not follow Tencent’s path into digital wallets? While Apple Pay may have won the battle against some of Australia’s banks, it may lose the war against the providers of digital wallets, such as Tencent and Alibaba.

Author: Steve Worthington, Adjunct Professor, Swinburne University of Technology

ANZ Lifts Security on Mobile Devices with Voice Biometrics

ANZ today announced it will be the first Australian bank to introduce voice biometrics to improve security on mobile devices to allow higher value transactions.

From the middle of this year, customers transferring more than $1000 through ANZ’s mobile apps will be able to use their voice to automatically authorise high value payments. Previously customers needed to use internet banking or visit a branch to complete transactions more than $1000.

Managing Director Customer Experience and Digital Channels, Peter Dalton said: “One of the key challenges today for banking as the world becomes more digital is making it easier for customers to do what they want to do in a safe and secure way.

“Voice biometrics is the next step in making banking more convenient for our customers while also strengthening security.

“A person’s voice has five to ten times as many security points than other methods such as fingerprints so we know this will improve security and be welcomed by our customers. The technology is now so advanced that it can tell the difference between identical twins or even a voice recording.
“We also know that people are becoming more comfortable with using their voice to do basic commands on their devices, so we see this is a natural extension of current technology and we are expecting this to be a popular enhancement of our mobile apps,” Mr Dalton said.

ANZ has been working closely with world-leading voiceprint and biometrics company Nuance to bring this new technology to Australian customers. A pilot will begin with ANZ staff and select customers in May using the Grow by ANZ mobile app. The service will then be rolled out to ANZ goMoney and other digital services progressively.

ACCC denies authorisation for banks to collectively bargain with Apple and boycott Apple Pay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a determination denying authorisation to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation, National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (the banks) to collectively bargain with Apple and collectively boycott Apple Pay.

“The ACCC is not satisfied, on balance, that the likely benefits from the proposed conduct outweigh the likely detriments. We are concerned that the proposed conduct is likely to reduce or distort competition in a number of markets,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

The banks sought authorisation to bargain with Apple for access to the Near-Field Communication (NFC) controller in iPhones, and reasonable access terms to the App Store. This access would enable the banks to offer their own integrated digital wallets to iPhone customers in competition with Apple’s digital wallet, without using Apple Pay.

“While the ACCC accepts that the opportunity for the banks to collectively negotiate and boycott would place them in a better bargaining position with Apple, the benefits would be outweighed by detriments,” Mr Sims said.

The banks argued that access to the NFC controller on iPhones would enable them to offer competing wallets on the iOS platform which would lead to the following public benefits:

  • increased competition and consumer choice in digital wallets and mobile payments in Australia
  • increased innovation and investment in digital wallets and other mobile applications using NFC technology
  • greater consumer confidence leading to increased adoption of mobile payment technology in Australia.

The ACCC accepted that Apple providing the banks access to the iPhone NFC controller is likely to lead to increased competition in mobile payment services and that this was a significant public benefit. However, the ACCC considered the likely distortions to and reductions in competition caused by the conduct would also be significant. Three likely detriments in particular stood out.

“First, Apple and Android compete for consumers providing distinct business models. If the Applicants are successful in obtaining NFC access, this would affect Apple’s current integrated hardware-software strategy for mobile payments and operating systems more generally, thereby impacting how Apple competes with Google,” Mr Sims said.

“Second, digital wallets and mobile payments are in their infancy and subject to rapid change. In Australia, consumers are used to making tap and go payments with payment cards, which provide a very quick and convenient way to pay. There is also a range of alternative devices being released that allow mobile payments; for example, using a smartwatch or fitness device. It is therefore uncertain how competition may develop.”

“Access to the NFC in iPhones for the banks could artificially direct the development of emerging markets to the use of the NFC controller in smartphones. This is likely to hamper the innovations that are currently occurring around different devices and technologies for mobile payments,” Mr Sims said.

The conduct is also likely to reduce the competitive tension between the banks in the supply of payment cards.

“Finally, Apple Wallet and other multi-issuer digital wallets could increase competition between the banks by making it easier for consumers to switch between card providers and limiting any ‘lock in’ effect bank digital wallets may cause,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC consulted with consumers, financial institutions, retailers and technology companies in reaching its decision.

The Final Determination is available here: Bendigo and Adelaide Bank & Ors – Authorisation – A91546 & A91547

Background

A ‘digital wallet’ is an app on a mobile device that can provide a number of the same functions as a physical wallet, including the ability to make payments in-store and storing other information, such as loyalty or membership cards. A ‘mobile payment’ is a payment performed in-store using a digital wallet.

On 19 August 2016 the ACCC decided not to grant interim authorisation to the applicants.

On 29 November 2016, the ACCC published a draft determination proposing to deny authorisation.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit resulting from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

Further information about the applications for authorisation is available on the ACCC Authorisations register: Bendigo and Adelaide Bank & Ors – Authorisation – A91546 & A91547

US Banks Launch Payment App

From Bloomberg.

For years, US banks have watched as their youngest customers split restaurant checks, shared utility bills, and pitched in for parties using third-party payment apps such as Venmo.

Now they’re trying to take back the person-to-person payments business by launching an app of their own.

Nineteen banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, are teaming up to start Zelle, a website and app that will let users send and request money much as Venmo does. Bank of America says it is the first to incorporate all of Zelle’s capabilities—including the ability to split bills between users—into its own mobile app, starting today. A standalone Zelle payment app should be available to anyone with a debit card, regardless of where he or she banks, by the middle of the year.

Bank of America's upgraded payment app. Source: Bank of America

Zelle has some stiff competition from Venmo and its parent company, PayPal Holdings Inc. Venmo, which started in 2009, processed $17.6 billion in transactions last year, a 135 percent increase from the previous year. In the common vernacular, “to Venmo” means to move money to and from friends and family. That’s a huge advantage, said Michael Moeser, director of payments at Javelin Strategy & Research. When presented with another option, “An avid Venmo user is going to ask, ‘Why do I need something else?'” he said.

Zelle’s not-so-secret weapon is its connection to the big banks where millions of Americans keep their money. Request $40 from a roommate over the Zelle network using BofA’s app, and the money shows up in your account within minutes of when he agrees to send it. On Venmo, that $40 would show up in your Venmo wallet right away, but then it stays there. To get the cash into your hands, you need to log into your Venmo account, cash out your balance, and wait—sometimes days—for the money to show up in your bank account.

Venmo is trying to accelerate that process. PayPal made deals with Mastercard Inc. and Visa Inc. to move money over their debit card networks. By the middle of 2017, it should be possible to cash out a PayPal or Venmo account instantly, according to PayPal Holdings spokesman Josh Criscoe.

Zelle was built by Early Warning, a bank-owned company that also runs the clearXchange payment system. It’s no easy task to build an app that syncs with 19 large banks, four payment processors, and two card networks. Each has its own legacy technology, and many already have person-to-person payment tools, such as Chase’s QuickPay, that are popular with some customers.

To launch the new app without disrupting the old systems, Zelle is being rolled out in phases. In the first, under way now, bank payment apps will incorporate Zelle’s options and basic design without any Zelle branding. Banks can add these features whenever they’re ready.  Later, bank apps will tout Zelle branding, and, sometime in the first half of the year, a standalone app will be launched.

BofA’s person-to-person payments will be free. Although members of the Zelle network will have the option to charge, it’s not clear if any banks will even try to do so when Venmo and other payment apps cost nothing.

The lack of an obvious revenue opportunity may be one reason why it has taken so long for banks to launch a serious competitor to Venmo. Moeser summarized the attitude of banks until recently: “Do I really care about two 18-year-olds sending $20 to each other? Maybe not.”

But the people designing Zelle imply their goal is much bigger than just helping college students split a pizza bill.

“This is a great time for us to move [person-to-person payments] from millennials to mainstream,” said Lou Anne Alexander, Early Warning’s group president for payments. The use of mobile banking apps is expanding exponentially, creating many more opportunities for people of all ages to send and request money. “Any place we see checks and cash, that’s our target,” she said.

Because Zelle is sponsored by and connected to their banks, Alexander said users should feel more comfortable using it for larger transactions and for a broader array of uses, from paying a contractor to collecting money for a school dance team. Zelle may also be used for business-to-consumer payments, such as insurance companies paying out claims.

Anything that promotes the use of digital payments is ultimately good for Venmo, said PayPal’s Criscoe. “The common enemy is cash.”

Zelle and Venmo have a lot in common with one major exception. Venmo is also a social app, where users can and do choose to make their transactions, along with any associated emoji-filled messages, public. Criscoe said the average user checks Venmo two to three times a week just to see what his or her friends are up to.

Zelle users won’t have the option to spy on their friends’ payment activity. The idea was tested on consumers but fell flat with Zelle’s intended audience, Alexander said. “While appealing to some ages, it’s not really appealing to all.”

Australian Banks Tell Apple – It’s About Access to NFC

The group of Australian banks applying to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for permission to jointly negotiate over access to Apple Pay and the Near Field Communication (NFC) function on iPhones, have announced they have narrowed the application to solely focus on open access to the NFC function.

In a joint statement on behalf of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, and Westpac, the banks said:

Open access to the NFC function on iPhone is required to enable real choice and real competition for consumers, and to facilitate innovation and investment in the digital wallets available to Australians.  Without open NFC access on iPhone, no genuine competition in the provision of mobile wallets is possible and Apple will have a stranglehold on this strategically important future market.

The four banks making the application – Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, and Westpac – have responded to concerns raised in the ACCC’s finely balanced draft determination, and proposed to remove from consideration items the ACCC considered may lead to a public detriment.

In the applicants’ response to the ACCC, the applicants have addressed these concerns by removing collective negotiation on the potential to pass-through the additional fees Apple wishes to impose on the payment system (i.e., the requested collective negotiation will be in relation to NFC access alone), and limiting the authorisation term to 18 months – half the original term sought.

Open NFC access would enable the delivery of substantial public benefits to Australian consumers, not just in payments, but across retailing, loyalty programs, building or member lounge security, and other NFC-use cases.  As a result, the applicants have again been supported by nearly all of Australia’s leading retailers, as well as competitors in the provision of payments services to merchants.

The applicants flatly reject Apple’s unsupported assertions that the application is about an objection to the fees that Apple wishes to impose, rather than NFC access.  Apple’s conspiracy theories about “Trojan horse fees” are similarly dismissed by the applicants as fantasy.

Apple recorded over $US7 billion in services revenue, which includes Apple Pay fees, from their customers in the last 3 months of 2016 alone, and hopes to double that over the next four years.  With their services business set to become the size of a standalone Fortune 100 company this year, Apple is the leading expert on deriving fee revenues from iPhone users, not the applicants.

“The applicants are ready, willing, and able to participate in Apple Pay, alongside being able to offer their customers their own mobile wallet products,” payments specialist and spokesperson on behalf of the applicants, Lance Blockley, said.

“This application has always been about consumer choice, and allowing competition between the makers of mobile wallets to offer the best products and features they can to determine which mobile wallet consumers will use.  The applicants want to put up their digital offerings head to head with Apple Pay, and let the market and individual consumers decide which best suits their needs.

“Open access to the NFC function, as occurs on the world’s most popular and widely installed mobile operating system Android, is important not just to the applicants and mobile payments, but to a range of NFC-powered functions across many sectors and uses.  This has global implications for the use of NFC on smart phones.

“The application seeks permission to jointly negotiate with Apple; this is not an attempt to delay Apple Pay from entering the Australian market.  The applicants expect that Apple Pay would be offered to their customers alongside open access to the NFC function.  Any delay or frustration will be as a result of Apple refusing to negotiate.

“Apple is not a bank or a credit card scheme, and Apple cannot on their own complete a mobile payment.  Nor are the applicants manufacturers of mobile phones – both parties need each other to bring strong mobile payment offerings to the market.”

The applicants look forward to the ACCC’s final decision, and believe their submission further demonstrates the net public benefits of the application, and substantially removes any risk of public detriment.

Apple blocks Samsung pay app for iPhones

From IT Wire.

Apple has refused a Samsung pay app for iOS a place in its App Store, according to a report in the South Korean publication, The Economic Times.

Samsung had planned to introduce the app, Samsung Mini Pay, from January and getting it into the app store was the first step in the process.

Samsung had completed testing of the app with some South Korean credit card companies but when it applied for registering the app it received a notice of rejection, the newspaper reported.

No reason was given for the rejection, but the newspaper speculated that it was possible that the app had not met Apple’s policies on security and regulations.

It said Samsung had now decided not to go ahead with the app, and instead concentrate on the Android market with its Samsung Pay app instead.The paper quoted a Samsung Electronics representative as saying, “After Apple rejected registration of Samsung Pay Mini onto its app store, we have decided to focus on Smartphones with Android OS.”

Apple is apparently thinking of launching its own Apple Pay app in South Korea in the first half of 2017, the paper said, adding that the company’s representatives had not provided any indication if this was so when asked.

Samsung Pay, which was launched in August, has so far been used in nine countries. Samsung Pay Mini has been in development for more than a year.