Visa is pushing near field communications (NFC) payments as its next big thing, with Optus set to undertake an internal trial of the technology over the next 12 months.
The Optus announcement, pairing an NFC-enabled SIM with a compatible smartphone, follows the recent pairing between Visa and Vodafone to offer a commercial NFC rollout.
According to an Optus representative, the NFC trial is purely internal, without a specific date for a commercial offering.
The Vodafone deal with Visa allows customers with compatible smartphones (at present, the Samsung Galaxy is one of the few on the market with NFC capability) to pay for sub-$100 items by swiping their phone across a point of sale terminal.
Vodafone and Visa customers can top up their balances, monitor payments and set a payment PIN – which somewhat reduces the attraction of swipe-and-go – using an Android app.
With the Optus trial, payment information and credentials are stored on the SIM.
However a phone with NFC technology is also required.
This contradicts earlier reports stating phones could be equipped with an NFC SIM, bypassing the need for compatible handset technology.