Commonwealth Bank enables NFC payments for Samsung Galaxy S 4

CBA-NewApp-Header

Westpac isn’t the only bank announcing new contactless payments services today, with Commonwealth Bank announcing today that owners of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 can use the NFC hardware in their devices to make contactless payments using the new Commonwealth Bank mobile banking application.

As you’d expect, CBA’s mobile application allows users to do all the normal mobile banking tasks, such as checking balances with a simple swipe, making Tap & Pay payments at MasterCard PayPass terminals, sending money to your mates using email or mobile numbers, and of course, finding traditional bank facilities like ATMs or branches.

For those without a Galaxy S 4, CBA customers can order a PayTag sticker (which we’ve covered previously) to affix to the back of their handset which enables mobile payments for basically any device. It’s not quite the same as NFC payments using the hardware built in to most modern Android handsets, but it’s almost as good.

We’d recommend that any CBA customers with a Galaxy S 4 download the new app today from Google Play Store and give it a try. If you’re able to, let us know in the comments how you find this new service!

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About the author

Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly... (read more)

  • Harpersneil

    Excuse my ignorance, but I thought the whole point of buying a Nexus device was the advantage of knowing that Apps were built with YOUR OS in mind?? Yet this is the second time an App I’ve really wanted (first time was with the Flex Fitbit) an app has been designed with Samsung and not my Nexus 5 or 7.

    Can someone explain to me why this happens? Am I better off buying a Google Edition of an S4 if we ever get one??

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Google edition of the Samsung S 4 isn’t compatible with the CBA app. It is rather frustrating that the banks target particular OEM’s handsets rather than just the operating system more generally, but unfortunately NFC has — until the advent of the Nexus 5 — been a bit difficult to access for banks.

      I just hope things get better in this space, and soon.

      • Jeffrey Atack

        I thought Kit Kat included NFC Card Emulation? Doesn’t this enable any Android Phone with an NFC chip to theoretically work (i.e. N4)?

      • http://buzz.id.au/ Buzz Moody

        Theoretically, yes.

      • Festivus Oz

        True. However the banks development cycle for this service is a little longer than the fee weeks since the device and OS was released. Considering they have your money conservative is better

      • Jeffrey Atack

        That’s fine. I was asking as the implication seemed to be that it was a hardware issue (solved by the Nexus 5) rather than a software issue (solved by Kit Kat)

    • http://buzz.id.au/ Buzz Moody

      It’s likely an incentive by Samsung to make these apps work on the S4, it’s also because they’ve made the Samsung KMS Agent ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skms.android.agent ) available to developers to talk with the NFC chip in the phone. They’re seemingly making it easier for developers; it’s also a mass-market phone compared to the Nexus 5.

  • frente69

    So is this a staggered rollout or another samsung partnered exclusive?

    • http://buzz.id.au/ Buzz Moody

      Likely a staggered roll out. Test it on a mass-market device with Samsung’s help first, then hit up other devices.

  • David Buse

    No Note 3 support?? How odd.

    • http://buzz.id.au/ Buzz Moody

      It will likely be added very soon.

    • trevor

      yeah i am chasing support for mine too, sucks when the note 3 is considered a more capable model then the s4

  • Hieu Nguyen

    Nexus 5 support next please…

    • http://buzz.id.au/ Buzz Moody

      No doubt on its way. It should be simple for them to add it.

      • Alexei Watson

        Yeah it should be, seeing as google provided an android API specifically for it, even with the same damn name (tap & pay).

        I think Commbank just like to troll the android die hards!

      • whispy_snippet

        It’s not a matter of simplicity. It’s a matter of Commonwealth Bank being total dicks and bowing to Samsung.

      • Waffles

        Hmm, necessary… Perhaps Samsung Australia got more involved than Google? I’m a nexus die hard but between trying to get a replacement nexus device shipped (after trying to find a number to call in australia) and not having the AU locale I can’t say google give much attention to Australian affairs, they seem content fighting the big telcos in america

      • Snippet

        Probably best not to go making big assumptions with no knowledge at all, that just creates an even bigger tide of BS. It’s google who is making the problems here not Commonwealth.

      • whispy_snippet

        How on earth did you come to that conclusion? What’s that based on?

      • Snippet

        Practically every article about this stuff that clearly says google isn’t giving out the keys to access the secure nfc element

  • PuGZoR

    Seeing no HTC One support made me rage hard. I’m not forking out $3 for a sticker that does what my phone actually already does. So annoying.

    • Jason

      It works on my htc one got the update yesterday

      • MrJayTee74

        Stock or custom ROM?

      • Tom Bammann

        You mean installing the update worked, or you installed the update, and successfully spent money using NFC?

    • Jeffrey Atack

      I’ve ordered the sticker as well…only $3, so lets see if it works well

    • Jeffrey Atack

      I’ve ordered the sticker as well…only $3, so lets see if it works well

  • Greg

    I think I’ll be switching my banking to Commonwealth or whoever beats them to it with an offering that works with my Nexus 4′s NFC.

    Unfortunately I don’t think anyone else offers the same value as my Qantas Amex and I doubt Amex will have their own solution for this any time soon. My free card for non-Amex accepting stores would very easily be replaced with a Commonwealth MasterCard though and I’d switch my transactions account to go with it.

  • Guest

    Sorry Jason, was referring to the NFC functionality. Other than that it seems a great app, but the NFC payment stuff was something I was really looking forward to.

  • whispy_snippet

    Oh piss off. Not another friggen Samsung exclusivity deal. Get stuffed Commonwealth Bank and Samsung. Android is NOT Samsung only.

    • http://buzz.id.au/ Buzz Moody

      That is true, however, the Galaxy S4 is outselling all other Android phones. So there’s that.

      • whispy_snippet

        Well obviously. But if Samsung keeps winning these exclusivity deals it will only hurt the broader Android platform in the long run. If Samsung establishes total dominance over Android then other manufacturers will drop out of the market. One of the best things about Android is the range of choice it presents to consumers. It leads to competition and innovation of which end users are the beneficiaries.

        What hope do HTC, Sony, Asus, LG, etc. have if Samsung keeps hijacking the Android platform? The mobile industry needs more players and more choices, not less. We don’t need another Apple.

    • Will Hughes

      You know that saying about Assuming? You’re assuming this is an agreement with Samsung/CBA, rather than about technical capability.

      • whispy_snippet

        I’m not assuming. I actually posted a very lengthy and detailed response explaining why, including links to the Verge and the Android developers page, but my post has seemingly been knocked back by Ausdroid moderation – why, I’m not sure.

  • Happy Dog

    Why are people so mad? We are taking about peoples credit card information and bank details. Banks aren’t trolling us or anything. This tech is still in its infancy. Let them roll in out gradually and get it right as opposed to stuffing it up and have people complaining that something has gone wrong!

    • JeniSkunk

      The problem, Happy Dog, is that the app was not made for the OS, but rather was made for a minuscule number of devices from one manufacturer.
      That said, I think I can figure out why Samsung was chosen. The Knoxx system that Samsung have. If that’s the case, do any other manufacturers have something similar?

      • whispy_snippet

        I wouldn’t say minuscule. There’s quite a lot of S4s out there at the moment. However, that number is certainly a lot smaller than every Android 4.0+ device out there. It’s total crap. Samsung is going around tying up all these exclusivity deals while giving the finger to the Android platform. I can understand why they’re doing it but it doesn’t mean I should like it. I friggen hate it. Wasn’t the stock Android Galaxy Nexus the first Android device to have NFC? And yet it’s a Touchwiz laden S4 that’s getting the exclusive treatment.

        iOS and Android are mobile platforms. Touchwiz is not. I’m sick of business and consumers treating it as though it is.

  • brendan

    Samsung galaxy s3′s and s3 lte both have nfc built in, why is this app only for s4? When it uses the same technology

    • http://buzz.id.au/ Buzz Moody

      Seems to be because of the Samsung KMS Agent software/app only supporting the S4 for now. It’s only logical for CBA to add S3 next.

  • http://grumliveshere.info grum

    Can someone confirm the process of paying with the app? I’ve got the app running on an S4 and when I hit the Tap & Pay, I get a screen asking me to pay for an NFC sticker (screenshot attached). Is this where I use the phone to make my payment? The screen is very misleading… I’ve tried asking CBA via eMail and their Facebook page but I get vague cookie-cutter answers.

    • d.k

      Go get the Samsung KMS Agent

    • http://grumliveshere.info grum

      Never mind, seems that my phone isn’t compatible.

      For those playing at home, You need a Galaxy S4 purchased in Australia that has the original software on it. You’ll also have to download a second piece of software called Samsung KMS Agent which seems to be only downloadable if you’re physically in Australia (as it seems to be country locked – I could be wrong there but it didn’t appear when I was on a US IP). So don’t try to get it if you’re holidaying overseas, have an imported phone or a custom ROM as it *may* not work.

      For those who don’t have the appropriate hardware, you can pay for a sticker for around $3 a year which is as thick as a credit card, limiting the ability to stick it inside your phone’s case (for those with a removable battery). So you have to stick the thing on the back of your phone, or your phone case if its a particularly snug case.

      Then again, it doesn’t need to be attached on the phone at all. You could stick it on your forehead and head-butt the paypass terminal and it’ll work. The sticker is essentially a small credit card that doesn’t directly talk to your phone. OR you could just use the paypass that is already in your wallet/purse for no additional charge.

      • d.k

        Sent you a link to download the apk on your g+ account. Let us know if you get it working.

      • http://grumliveshere.info grum

        oh ta, no need to. I already forced a KMS install. It spazzed out since it doesn’t like my ROM. :)

  • d.k

    The reason why the S4 is supported and other samsung devices are not is because it supports secure NFC. This should be fixed for most other devices with the roll out of kit kat. I have the sticker for now working on my rooted/custom rom note 3. I also have a Knox 0×1.

    • Roro

      Dear d.k
      I’m using note 3 and received the sticker 2 days ago, but can’t tap and go, it doesn’t work for me. I’m not using Know, should I?

      • dan

        Have you activated it within the new app by typing in the 4 digit pin found on the sticker?

  • mrjayviper

    does it actually check if the phone is an S4?

    • http://buzz.id.au/ Buzz Moody

      Yeah, because it needs to install Samsung KMS Manager.

      • mrjayviper

        thanks. Westpac implementation is much better then!

  • Harry

    Are there any videos of people trying it out, if not can someone post something?

  • bdg

    Very bummed that it is only for MasterCard, no Visa allowed

  • No_Underscore

    Great work Commbank, you got it out.
    I’m fine with a slow roll out here, they can work out any kinks on the S4 users.
    Surprised a mate with the news last night (he was lamenting that Commbank hadn’t walked the talk) he update the his app quick smart.

    So what is the Samsung KMS Manager and how does it fit into the process?
    It sounds like it supports the communication to the secure element or does it do more?
    Whats the general consensus, will HTC etc have to develop a similar app for us to see this to break out of the Samsung shackles?

  • richard

    The Samsung KMS app will not install on non Samsung TW rom’s, installation fails with a missing library error :(

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  • Jeffrey Atack

    Asked Comm Bank about other NFC equipped devices. They said “we’re currently evaluating opportunities to work with partners to introduce embedded NFC to more devices. Once we’re confident we can do this securely, we’ll make further announcements.”

  • Techn3rd

    I had issues at first with downloading the card to my device but after uninstalling the app and reinstalling the app, it worked a treat. I’ve made a few payments with my S4 so far. Had a couple of stange looks of confusion…I cant wait till they make amex pay pass available via the device. :)

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  • My goodness, there are a lot of people sulking over nothing. It is still rolling out and it has only been a day: be patient. If Commbank wanted to work a deal with Samsung, let them. Please don’t go on about how they offended your family and way of life =.=

    • Allen

      It hasn’t only been a day. I’ve had NFC for years and watching the dumb assets from comm bank giving away nfc cases to iPhone users at the Easter show last year , rather than enabling the people embracing the technology and buying nfc handsets is sheer stupidity.

  • Raymond Tau

    Used it today at my work easy as and I also have a S3 which works fine