NFC faces uphill climb in Australia

Tarik Husain/Sybase 365
03 Oct 2011
Rumors are that Australia may set up an impartial NFC industry council. Like most of us who have watched (and waited, thank god I did not hold my breath) for NFC to finally arrive, it is encouraging that something other than ‘another pilot’ has been put forward as a solution. Of course, the problem with a ‘council’ is you need a general consensus to move things forward, but it is a different take that I for one welcome.
The main challenge is getting everyone to agree, and the big four banks are just one component of what is needed in Australia. In fact, according to research conducted by Sybase 365 earlier this year, the lack of coordination between key industry stakeholders such as mobile operators, merchants, payment processors, banks and developers is viewed as the key inhibitor to widespread adoption of mobile payments.
Perhaps a ‘council’ can solve this problem, and I certainly hope so.
Even where I live, in Singapore, where it typically only takes one of two companies to say do it; and it gets done, we still don’t have NFC. So the challenges Australia faces are still huge, with or without a council.
My main worry is, should a council be formed, how long would it debate on the issues before laying out an NFC model for the country? Let’s hope it would not take years (like the years of pilots we have had so far). That said, this is a great chance for Australia to take a lead in the region by getting all the stakeholders to agree on a standard and a way forward, and do something for the consumer for once.
As a consumer, I would love to see NFC realised. I’m looking forward to the day when I can swipe my phone at a retailer and get through my transaction quicker; who does not love that? The retailers in particular would, I’m sure.


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