Optus gears up for the cashless revolution

Getting the notes out of your wallet and switching you to tap-and-go payment technologies was just the first stage. Next up, card companies will be getting into fashion.

This week, Optus is making waves about a way to get you paying for things without even taking that wallet out of your pants or handbag or where ever it happens to be. It’s about paying for things with the wave of your hand.

That’s the idea behind “Cash by Optus”, a concept that delivers contactless payment technology to your phone and a wrist band, allowing you to pay without reaching for the contactless credit or debit card.

Chances are that right now if you have a card that was issued to you within the past two or three years, you have a data chip inside which allows you to pay for goods and services by simply tapping the card to the EFTPOS payment reader.

Used for purchases up to $100 without needing to type in a PIN (with that passcode needed if you go over $100), the technology has already taken Australia by storm with news last year that more people were preferring tap and go card payments because they were easier to use.

But what if you didn’t need to use a card? What if you could rely solely on your wrist, or even use your phone?


Rolling out this week, Optus is integrating Visa PayWave technology in two products, with a sticker that can be attached to the back of a phone and a wristband that you wear around.

You’ll need a specific smartphone if you want to go down the sticker router, but quite a few appear to be supported, and the technology is very similar to how the band works, with Near-Field Communication and PayWave both employed to talk to the “Cash by Optus” app, which you can load with money and then pay using the sticker or band.

Think of it as contactless access to a specific account, letting you pay using a small account made just for small purchases.

“It has always been our aim to bring the ease and convenience of Cash by Optus to as many customers as possible, across a range of smartphones and these new payment accessories enable us to do just that,” said Ben White, Acting Managing Director of Product and Marketing at Optus.


Apple iPhone owners can use either the sticker or the wristband, as can Android owners, but dependent on the device they own, Android owners will also get access to a special SIM that works as the payment accessory.

That means if you do have a compatible Android phone, you won’t necessarily need the sticker or band, unless you want them, of course.

“Cash by Optus Payment Accessories is the natural next step for Optus since we were the first Australian telco to introduce a mobile payment solution to the market in 2014,” said White.

“Backed by two trusted names, Visa and Heritage Bank, Optus is continuing to look at ways to expand Cash by Optus and bring innovative products and services to our customers.”


Short of strapping your credit or debit card to the back of your phone, there hasn’t been much for the average punter to do when it comes to turning your phone into a payment device.

Sure, there have been promises of payment technologies from the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung, but locally, Australians haven’t had many options, unless they happened to be iPhone customers with an American Express card, and that is still only a recent development.

So you can imagine how intrigued we are by the “Cash by Optus” concept, particularly since it will offer Optus customers — and potentially a lot of other people — the chance to get involved in the cashless movement from a really future friendly angle.

We’ll be trialling it out over the next few weeks to see if this really does represent a taste of that cashless society we’ve been dreaming of, but if you’re keen to try it, you merely need to head to the Cash by Optus site to see if you’re compatible.