By any measure, a 60-user rollout is small. But it gives MasterCard Inc. a MasterCard Mobile Wallet test that touches many Coles supermarkets across Australia.
Coles has assigned a small number of its customers to use the mobile wallet application on smartphones with SIM cards that will function as the company's Coles MasterCard credit card linked to its FlyBuy loyalty points program, the supermarket chain announced Feb. 19.
The test marks one of MasterCard's first mobile wallet ventures since making an investment in Chicago-based mobile wallet and transactions platform provider C-Sam at the end of last year. C-Sam provides back-end mobile wallet technology, including software development kits, software that supports Near Field Communication, bar codes, QR codes or cloud-based transactions, in addition to loyalty programs, bill-pay options and banking capabilities.
Coles says it plans to expand the mobile wallet rollout beyond the initial 60 customers during the three-month testing period.
The wallet will operate with NFC technology that will allow a consumer to make a payment at Coles' point of sale terminals and automatically receive loyalty points to their phones.
Consumers were already making between $15 billion to $20 billion in transactions a year using contactless systems, representing 50% of all of Coles' credit card payments, Richard Wormald, Coles' general manager of financial services, says in a press release.
"This could let you look up your spending on your mobile phone quickly and receive and redeem discount offers," he says.
In addition to MasterCard, the Coles trial includes partnerships with GE Capital Australia, Vodafone and Gemalto. Coles says the mobile wallet will be accepted at locations beyond the Coles stores, allowing consumers to make transactions at the more than 700,000 merchant locations worldwide accepting MasterCard PayPass.
The Coles move to MasterCard's Mobile Wallet continues a mobile-payment trend in Australia that has seen Coles' competitor, Woolworths, test a similar system in 3,000 of its supermarkets with bank partner HSBC.
In addition, Commonwealth Bank of Australia introduced its CommBank Kaching mobile wallet last year. That product allows contactless payments through Android phones at terminals using MasterCard PayPass technology, and allows iPhone users to make contactless payments using a custom phone case and app.