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Coles trials "phone wave" credit card technology

A NEW "sticker" credit card that can be attached to your mobile phone is being trialled by Coles.

The innovation is being rolled out to 5000 Coles Mastercard cardholders, allowing them to swipe the back of their phone for some purchases.

Dr Gary Mortimer, a consumer behaviour expert from QUT's School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, said the card could be swiped, without the need for a signature or a pin, for purchases under $100.

"As we tend to never be apart from our mobile phones, the pay tag is a time saver at the check-out, and could be a life saver if you find yourself without your wallet or purse," Dr Mortimer said.

The Coles trial is an opt-in system, in which shoppers use a pay tag linked to their Coles Mastercard at any retailer or service provider using Mastercard Pay Pass technology.

"Australians should expect to see banks and other retailers follow suit," Dr Mortimer said.

"The technology is new to Australia but the rest of the world has been moving to this technology for a while.

"Singapore Citibank launched a pay tag sticker that can be attached to a phone or other device earlier this year and Barclay Card in the UK last year.

"Benefits for consumers will be faster processing at the registers. If you leave your wallet or purse at home or in the office, you can still buy lunch or get a train ticket or taxi.

"However, if you lose your phone, the finder could make small purchases by tapping the sticker until you discover your phone is missing. I've left my wallet home twice and my glasses numerous times, but somehow I am never without my phone."

Dr Mortimer said pay tags used radio frequency like the RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags used for years to track the transit of goods through the supply chain.

"The big difference with pay tags is that they contain secure microprocessors and memory, and they can perform multiple functions including cryptographic processing.

"They also are required to operate within much shorter distances than the RFID tags." 

Topics:  business credit cards editors picks technology



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