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Apple Pay targets another 5 million customers with Australian partnership

A partnership with one of Australia's and Asia's biggest banks is pushing Apple Pay towards serious growth in the region with millions of new customers up for grabs.

Apple has partnered with one of Australia's largest banks to bring Apple Pay to 5 million new customers.

Apple just snagged itself another 5 million potential Apple Pay customers, after the tech giant announced a new partnership with one of Australia's largest banks, ANZ.

The move firmly establishes Apple in the mature Australian market, where contactless and mobile payments already make up the majority of everyday transactions (60 percent of card transactions in Australia are now contactless).

The partnership will also help Apple gain a further foothold in the growing Asian market: ANZ bills itself as "Australia's leading bank in Asia" as well as the leading bank in New Zealand and the South Pacific. Apple Pay launched in China at the start of this year and expanded into Singapore last week.

Apple Pay initially launched in Australia in partnership with American Express, though the service was locked down to customers with a card issued by American Express, rather than Amex cards offered through banks.

The mobile payments service allows iPhone and Apple Watch users to make payments simply by passing their Apple device over any contactless payment terminal. Card details are encrypted on the phone and authentication is provided by the user's fingerprint (or, in the case of the Apple Watch, by sensing contact with the user's skin).

Now, ANZ's 5 million Australian customers will be able to make contactless payments in this way at more than 70 percent of payment terminals in Australia. ANZ Visa debit, credit card and ANZ-issued American Express cards will all be eligible.

Apple Pay initially struggled to gain traction in Australia, with reports that banks were quibbling with Apple over payment fees. But now, as one of Australia's "Big Four" banks, ANZ is sure to kick off an uptick in mobile payments as other financial institutions look to get in on the Apple Pay action and reduce ANZ's competitive advantage.

But it's not just Apple Pay making waves on Australian shores -- Samsung yesterday confirmed that it would be launching Samsung Pay in Australia this year as part of a global expansion into countries such as Brazil, Canada, Singapore, Spain and the UK.