The mobile wallet: Learning from New Zealand

The mobile wallet: Learning from New Zealand

Australia has been watching its neighbours across the ditch closely as the wallet of the future gets off the ground in New Zealand.

The concept of replacing your physical wallet and all its contents with an electronic wallet on your mobile phone has been tried and tested in New Zealand, and is set to roll out to be available to all Kiwis from mid-2014.

It’s a smaller, simpler market in New Zealand, with less people, banks and telcos than here in Australia, but interested Aussie parties have been watching closely.

Roxanne Salton, head of m-payments and m-commerce at Telecom Digital Ventures, part of Telecom NZ, which is behind the mobile wallet, said: “There is a lot of movement happening in Australia in terms of people coming together and forming mobile payment schemes. Australia has been watching what’s going on in New Zealand very carefully.”

Salton (pictured) said New Zealand was an ideal test market for a mobile wallet. “New Zealand is quite small and we don’t have as many banks and loyalty programs to work with,” she said. “Also, New Zealand has the highest cashless society amongst OECD countries – we have been using eftpos to pay for things like coffee for a long time – so the mobile wallet is a natural progression for Kiwis.

“New Zealand is also over-subscribed in terms of mobile phones – at 120%. We all have a mobile phone, and some of us have two.”

Telecom Digital Ventures went a step further than mobile wallets for just payments.

Salton told B&T: “We knew that tapping your phone on the payment terminal and paying with a digitised card already works, as that’s already working overseas. We wanted to take it a step further, and incorporate your transport card into the wallet as well.”

But what about security issues? According to Unisys research, it takes 26 hours for the average person to report a lost wallet, while it takes 68 minutes for them to report a lost phone.

“The phone replaces only the plastic cards,” said Salton. “Everything else that the phone does, as far as tapping the terminal to pay, changes nothing behind the scenes. The terminal doesn’t even know if it’s a card or a phone. And the process should be much shorter if you did lose your phone, because you don’t have to reorder all the cards and wait for them to arrive one by one.”

The options opened up by the mobile wallet for marketers are huge.

“Suddenly marketers know where people are and can offer them live offers and coupons – this is a whole new marketing channel that has tremendous power, as there is so much data attached behind the scenes,” explained Salton.  

In New Zealand, the three telcos and the four largest banks have committed to a joint venture to launch one universal mobile wallet.

“We are hoping to launch this new venture in the middle of next year,” Salton said.

And the next stage is to incorporate loyalty cards into the mobile wallet. And beyond that, all cards – membership cards, drivers license, coffee cards.

“If we want consumers to pick up their phones and use them instead of carrying a wallet, we need to make the experience as good as the physical wallet, if not better,” she concluded.

The mobile wallet in action:

Roxanne Salton will be speaking at ADMA’s Engage event, on November 12 in Sydney and November 14 in Melbourne. 

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