A Phone Becomes A Credit Card for Growing Numbers of Australians

November 28, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

The sheer number of options in mobile payments has only been on the rise over the last few years, and we’re increasingly seeing more people take advantage of these options as well. In Australia, this is no different: in fact, Australian banks are said to be having a tough time keeping up with demand, as a Deloitte survey found that Aussies are increasingly turning to their smartphones to make payments.

The Deloitte study found that mobile payment solutions use has climbed 14 percent just in the last year, and now, one in four respondents are routinely using mobile payment solutions. The specific solutions vary—between the various in-app operations as well as the dedicated mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, there are many choices—but the overall thrust is increasingly mobile.

Banks, in turn, are beginning to see the writing on the wall when it comes to payments, and that customers want mobile payments access even at the cost of many common banking tools. Thus, banks are starting to release their own tools in this vein, like a recent release from NAB and CommBank, which allows access to a mobile wallet via a mobile banking app.

This is posing some challenges from a security standpoint, even with biometric systems involved. While fingerprint scans are much stronger than a PIN—especially given that people tend to make PINs and passwords simple for easier remembering—it’s easy to forget that we don’t protect our fingerprints well. Particularly enterprising thieves could collect a fingerprint from a glass or even from the device itself, though this sounds less like the work of garden-variety thieves and more like the plot twist in a Sax Rohmer novel.

Regardless of the potential security threat, it’s overwhelmingly clear that mobile payments are gaining ground and not likely to lose it. This should prompt banks to step into the fray and bring out solutions their customers so clearly want, or risk losing said customers altogether.

While banks’ natural risk-aversion has limited their overall capability for some time now, it’s safe to say that those limits will have to be transcended in order to carry on. Offering bank-level security in a mobile payments tool could definitely be a welcome addition, and one that Australian users—or anywhere else, for that matter—would welcome.