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Westpac trials HCE Digital Wallet technology

Westpac trials HCE Digital Wallet technology


Westpac is trialling Host Card Emulation (HCE) mobile payments, the first bank in New Zealand to actively do so and one of only a handful of banks globally to be using the innovative ‘digital wallet’ technology.

The three month trial, which uses Carta Worldwide HCE technology, enables credit and debit card details to be securely stored in a remote and hosted ‘cloud’ environment, accessible from Android smartphones.

This places all relevant customer information in one place without the need to carry and use a physical credit or debit card.

After downloading a digital wallet app and registering their card details, customers will be able to use Near Field Communication enabled Android handsets to make payments at any contactless terminal.

Westpac’s Chief Product Officer Shane Howell said the trial is the first step towards a completely digital wallet in New Zealand, and is expected to be available to customers early next year.

“We already use our smartphones to organise so many aspects of our lives, so using them to make payments is just a natural extension of this. This is the first of four key components we are looking to develop that will make up a digital wallet for Westpac customers.

“The other components we are looking to incorporate are transport cards for buses and trains, loyalty programmes such as Hotpoints® and potentially even forms of ID like a driver’s license. What we’re working towards is a true digital wallet experience that is safe and easy to use.”

Developed in partnership with global payments innovators Carta Worldwide, security is a key feature of the digital wallet.

Carta’s Chief Technology Officer Rui Mendes said “With our advanced, layered security, each individual mobile transaction is protected. HCE enables mobile secure transactions that are compatible with existing contactless terminals. With Carta’s advancements in data security along with user app features like mobile PIN, our cloud based solution is just as secure as the existing plastic card.”

Howell says banking is in a period of digital disruption and payments are a focus of innovation all over the world.

“Payments are something that customers do daily and developing ways to make things easier via digital and mobile channels is a focus for us.

“We have chosen to go this way as technology is developing so quickly and we can ensure flexibility by using HCE. Working within an industry wide group such as the TSM (Trusted Services manager) may not allow that flexibility.”

The trial is with 40 selected Westpac staff and customers across the country.

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