Bank Admits NFC Trial Fails, Which Should Mean The Start Of Some NFC Success

A major Australian bank has declared its mobile-payments trial a failure. ANZ Banking Group and Visa launched the trial in March, with 50 bank employees in Sydney and Melbourne using mobile-phone covers that added near-field communication (NFC) by way of a MicroSD card. The trial ended in April, but on Monday (June 27) the bank delivered the verdict: "Our participants strongly supported contactless payment as a convenient way to pay, but the MicroSD technology did not meet all of our requirements. At this stage, we will not be progressing with MicroSD as a contactless payment technology platform," the bank told ZDNet Australia.

A bank admitting its NFC trial has failed—especially when it involves Visa's pet project, MicroSD cards? That would have been unthinkable even six months ago. NFC-in-MicroSD was the way for Visa and the banks to keep interchange fees out of the hands of phone makers (which control NFC-in-the-phone) or mobile operators (with NFC-in-the-SIM). But now, a month into the Google Wallet era, that's unnecessary: Visa and the banks will get interchange no matter where the NFC chip sits. Now maybe everyone can stop playing "hide the NFC" and focus on actually getting customers to use it.