Commonwealth Bank hosted an event this morning at their Darling Harbour headquarters to talk about new features they’re making available for customers in the coming months.
CommBank’s CIO Michael Harte said, “Mobility is not a trend; it is increasingly our way of life”, and shared some numbers that put into perspective – they’ve seen over 2.3 million registrations on their new mobile app since its release in late 2013.
That that number actually far exceeded their expectations for uptake of the app – but of course, they’re quite happy with the result. The app is currently seeing 45,000 logons per hour and seeing over $1 billion of transactions , and the Tap & Pay functionality is being used to the tune of $1 million per week.
Small Business App
Today saw the announcement of the bank’s new CommBank Small Business app, which will launch on Android and iOS in June 2014. It brings a number of features designed to help small business owners to take on-the-spot payments, create estimates and line items, and manage invoices, cash flow and business operations from within the app.
CommBank is targetting mobile businesses rather than those in fixed premises, pairing the new app with a small mobile point of sale terminal called ‘Emmy’ to facilitate processing of card payments through the app. Emmy connects to the host device via Bluetooth, allowing swipe or chip & pin payments.
The app seems like a smaller MYOB or Xero accounting service. Small business owners can get an Emmy terminal and use it to process payments within the app from June. There’s a $30/month fee and 1.5% transaction charge for the service.
The remaining announcements were about new features that will be added to the Android and iOS CommBank app in May.
Customers will soon be able to use the CommBank app to allow someone to withdraw cash from an ATM on your behalf with the Cardless Cash feature.
You’ll send an 8 digit “Cash Code” to the recipient (or use it yourself), and CommBank will send a 4 digit PIN code via SMS to provide security for the transaction.
Cardless Cash can help if you need to send cash to family or friends in an emergency, and could also be a good idea to use yourself if you’re concerned about using your card in areas where ATM skimming is on the rise.
Lock & Limit
The final new feature announced today is enhanced controls for CommBank credit card holders that can be activated from within the app, for which you would previously have had to get in touch with CommBank staff to activate or deactivate.
There are four new options being added to card controls in May:
- International Online Payments can be switched on or off, or on for a particular time period,
- International In-Store Payments can be switched on or off, or on for a particular time period,
- Cash advances can be switched on or off, so you can restrict cash withdrawals at ATMs from your credit card in Australia or overseas; and
- Transaction Limits can be set to a particular dollar value
CommBank staff also pointed out that these controls don’t change anything in terms of liability and fraud protection.
I chatted briefly with Lisa Frazier (Executive General Manager, Digital Channels) after the event and told her I was a little disappointed not to hear an update on the implementation of NFC Host Card Emulation, the technology that Cuscal is using to enable tap-and-pay on KitKat devices with NFC later this year.
Lisa confirmed that CommBank has heard the storm of criticism that came with the announcement of their Samsung-only solution for using the NFC hardware in most modern Android phones for mobile payments, and that they are looking at the technology. Given CommBank’s focus on innovative technology solutions, I’m hoping we’ll see native KitKat Tap & Pay sooner rather than later, but in the meantime it’s still good to know that our voices are being heard.
Are you a CommBank personal or business customer? What do you think of these new features? Tell us in the comments!