Giant leaps forward for contactless mobile payment systems.

The adoption of contactless mobile payment methods has picked up pace this week, with credit card giants MasterCard and Visa both making new announcements.

MasterCard has released an updated version on its contactless mobile payment method, 'MasterPass.' The new virtual wallet, that is likely to go head on with Visa's PayWave, is expected to be available in Australia by the end of March, before the rest of the world. The application will not just be limited to MasterCard credit card holders either, allowing almost any credit card to access the system. The new service means that shoppers are likely to start seeing the MasterPass icon appear across a number of retail stores and the service already has the NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, JB Hi Fi, Harvey Norman and many more in its lineup of partners. The payment service will also be available for banks to market the digital wallet under their own brand name, according to The Australian. 

Meanwhile, although many NFC enabled devices are already available in Australia, it has been difficult for financial institutions to integrate the technology into their own systems. Now, in an industry first, Visa and Samsung have announced an agreement, whereby popular Samsung Galaxy devices will automatically have Visa's Paywave application downloaded on new devices. The move is expected to clear consumer confusion and make it easier for financial institutions to link mobile devices to bank accounts, according to the Financial Times.

According to global research group Markets and Markets, the mobile money industry is expected to reach up to $13.5 billion by 2018.

Although virtual wallets are likely to become a common payment method in Australia, the need for a credit card is likely to remain a beneficial product for many Australians , and so savvy Aussies should still search out the best low rates and rewards through a credit card comparison.

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