Optus Seeking NFC SIM Card for Contactless Phones

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Nowadays, although NFC is quite a heated topic, it has yet made its way into most mobile phones. To get around the problem of handset manufacturers not building the technology into their products, Singtel-Optus is turning to NFC-equipped SIM cards.

Cameron Churchus, Singtel-Optus head of market development for mCommerce, said the SIM card was the key to delivering NFC to consumers. “The SIM is very much where we see the market moving,” he said.

According to Churchus, 1,000 consumers polled by the carrier expressed a great interest in NFC-capable handsets. This was because they didn’t like carrying wallets thick with credit, loyalty and identification cards. “People like the simplicity and ease of an electronic equivalent to cash,” he said.

So far, few NFC-enabled handsets have reached Australian consumers. Churchus did not explain how a contactless payment system would work with NFC-enabled SIM cards and non-NFC phones.

He expected merchants to have largely replaced swipe machines with proximity-based devices by 2016, driven by an uptake of contactless credit and debit cards.

At present, “tap and go” is restricted to purchases under $100. Optus’ survey found consumers willing to pay for larger purchases using NFC.