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MasterCard brings RFID payments to Australia

Steven Deare, ZDNet Australia | April 6 2006

MasterCard has announced the first trial of its radio frequency identification (RFID) credit card technology in Australia, which allows card-holders to make small payments without supplying a signature or personal identification number for verification.

The credit card company today announced 35,000 Commonwealth Bank customers in New South Wales (NSW) would be issued new credit cards with the RFID PayPass technology. The cards can be used at more than 150 merchants, including 7-Eleven and Subway outlets.

The new cards will allow customers to make transactions of up to AU$35 without supplying personal identification data. To use PayPass, customers will hold their card before a PayPass reader on the merchant's counter, which processes the payment in seconds.

"This is exciting technology with huge potential applications, from shopping at the corner store, to paying at a 'drive through' to accessing sporting events," said Commonwealth Bank group executive, retail banking services, Michael Cameron.

"Less money handling and quicker processing of customer transactions could result in smaller queues for many retailers."

Despite personal identifier data not being required for some transactions, Cameron defended the security of PayPass.

"Rollouts of this technology in the United States and around the world have shown no increase in fraud or security concerns, and we anticipate a similar experience here.

"We are very confident in the security of this technology," he said.

There were five million PayPass cards and 25,000 merchants accepting them around the world, according to MasterCard.

The trial will run for six months.


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