Optus adds NFC wearables to Cash By Optus

Alex Kidman 8 February 2016

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Optus has extended its contactless payment system with options for users to pick up smartphone stickers or wearable NFC bands. Here’s what you need to know.

NFC payment technology is quite advanced in Australia, with most merchants happily accepting contactless payments via a tap and go enabled credit card.

There are fewer options if you want to pay with your credit card. So far, only American Express offers Apple Pay, and even then only on cards it’s issued itself. Samsung Pay is meant to launch in Australia in 2016, and there are a smattering of banks offering smartphone apps with integrated tap and go payment facilities.

Optus has for some time offered its Cash By Optus payment system, which uses Visa’s payWave technology as its underlying core, tied to an existing Optus Mobile account. When you make payments, they're charged to your mobile bill.

That’s dependent upon you having a compatible NFC-enabled Android smartphone, however; while the iPhone 6/6 Plus/6s/6 Plus do contain NFC chips, Apple has locked that functionality so that only Apple Pay can use it for now.

To expand its reach, Optus has announced that it’s making NFC stickers and wearable bands available to Cash By Optus customers in order to make a wider range of handsets capable as contactless payment devices. This includes iPhones via the inclusion of an NFC sticker for iPhone 5 or better handsets, and wearable bands for those in the Android camp. Optus demonstrated NFC-enabled wearable smartwatches for media at Mobile World Congress back in 2015, but there's no sign of a Cash By Optus Smartwatch just yet.

CashByOptusiPhone

Optus isn’t charging for a sticker or a wearable band, but you’ll have to register for the service, and you can only choose a single option (sticker or band). Optus representatives told finder.com.au that there were no plans at this stage to allow multiple NFC devices at this stage. So if you wanted to share a Cash By Optus account with a family member or similar, you can’t do so just yet.

As with most contactless payment systems, there’s no PIN or similar security measure at play, and single transactions are limited to a maximum of $100.

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