Smartphones to revolutionise payments

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 04/05/2012
Amy Adams
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
FUTURISTIC PAYMENT: ICT Minister Amy Adams tries paying her bus fare with a Snapper-equipped smartphone as 2degrees chief executive Eric Hertz waits in the queue.

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A new era in mobile phone payments has dawned and smartphones look set to become an even more familiar sight on public transport after 2degrees began selling a $299 Android phone that has Snapper's contactless payment technology built in.

The LG Optimus Net smartphone can be used as an alternative to Snapper and Hop cards, to tag on and off 1000 buses in Wellington and Auckland as well as in the 3000 taxis and 500 shops that accept Snapper.

Owners hold the phone – which does not need to be turned on – up to a reader or payment terminal just as they would a Snapper card. However, the "Touch2Pay" application offers some extra conveniences. Snapper balances are shown on the phone and can be topped up by credit card.

Owners can also transfer money from the Snapper account on the smartphone to any Snapper card issued within the past 18 months, by holding the card against their phone and keying in the transfer. Snapper chief executive Miki Szikszai expected that to be a convenience for families with multiple cards.

Szikszai said the robbery of Wellington bus driver Herman Curry on Friday highlighted the desirability of doing away with cash fares.

More than 200,000 Snapper cards have been issued. 2degrees chief executive Eric Hertz said that if 2degrees could convert 10,000 customers to Touch2Pay within a year, that would be "a great target".

The partnership between Snapper and 2degrees is the first application of near-field communication (NFC) technology in New Zealand. Some believe the technology will eventually do away with the need for people to carry cash or bank cards.

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- The Dominion Post

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