ANZ now has all the payment things, but will customers care?

Angus Kidman 19 July 2017 NEWS

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We don't care about banks the way we care about phones.

Yesterday, ANZ announced that it is now supporting Samsung Pay across all its credit and debit cards. That means that amongst the Big Four banks (ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac), it's the only brand that can claim to support the full suite of contactless smart phone payment platforms: Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. (We can safely assume that Windows Phone Pay is not happening at this point.)

ANZ is the only major bank that currently offers Apple Pay. After attempts to have collective authorisation to negotiate with Apple failed, the other three seem to have decided that the price of dealing with Cupertino is too high. ANZ has previously said that Apple Pay has driven new credit card sign-ups. Westpac appeared to have a similar belief when it became the first major to offer Samsung Pay earlier this year. But will many customers actually switch banks to take advantage of those choices?

Experience suggests that we're much more passionate about our phone choices than we are about our banks. Asking an iPhone user to switch to Android is like asking Scott Morrison to attend the opening of a wind farm in his electorate—it's probably not going to happen. The same generally applies in reverse. That choice often isn't rational, but it's usually heartfelt.

Our selection of banks is often much more utilitarian, even though over our lifetime banks will take far more of our money than phone manufacturers. We might contemplate changing banks for a better mortgage deal, but it seems less likely we'll do so just so we can tap our phone on the counter to pay at our favourite store.

That's especially the case in Australia, where we're already using contactless payments via our cards in huge numbers. Yes, in the long run it might be easier to use our phone, and have one less object to worry about. But it doesn't seem to be our most pressing concern right now.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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