Optus becomes First Telco in Australia to offer Contactless Payments

Optus recently launched its contactless payments service dubbed as Cash by Optus. It is currently an Android-only smartphone app designed to replace cash and card purchases below $100. The contactless payments app has been launched in collaboration with Visa and Heritage Bank. ‘Cash by Optus’ uses NFC and Visa payWave technology. Unlike other services, it is not tied to a specific bank.

The entire solution is SIM-based, so customers need to request a special SIM from Optus. The choice of a SIM solution makes it possible to use the service even when the phone's battery is dead. So basically, one can simply use the app without opening it on your phone. The company claims that the contactless service works as kind of a virtual card that seems just like a Visa Prepaid debit card. So, it can be used at any payment terminal that accepts Visa payWave.

The technology uses international EMV chip standards meaning in the event the phone is lost, Optus can close the Cash by Optus account and customers can dispute payments made. Customers will have to load up $500 at a time to use for payments. The app allows users to top up and check your remaining balance online in real time. The app will also allow customers to shop online or over the phone for purchases up to $250. Currently it is available for limited devices and for postpaid customers only who own select Android devices including Samsung’s Galaxy S3, S4 and S5.

'There are already nearly one million Optus postpaid customers with compatible devices who could download this app, get the SIM and make purchases using Cash by Optus,' said Ben White, vice president, Mobile Marketing at Optus, in an official press release. We’re the first Australian telco to launch a mobile payments app, and because it’s compatible with many of the latest Android devices and can be linked to any Australian bank account, we’ve got a huge opportunity to bring this technology to a lot of people.

As technology and communications converge, Cash by Optus is a natural evolution for Optus. This is our first step towards launching future contactless applications in areas like public transport. Australians never leave home without their mobiles, so it makes sense to build this technology into smartphones now, Ben further added.