Commonwealth Bank customers are today rejoicing as the bank has begun seeding their Host Card Emulation based NFC ‘Tap & Pay’ payments functionality to the CommBank app on Google Play.
The Commonwealth Bank is the first of the larger establishments to offer wider support of NFC ‘Tap & Pay’ on mobile phones. The Tap & Pay function is being introduced in their CommBank app from Google Play. The Tap & Pay function is enabled by Host Card Emulation, a feature released by Google in Android 4.4, which allows for the NFC chip to be used, without the requirement to host sensitive data in the Secure Element within the card.
The Commonwealth Bank has been playing around with NFC based payments for sometime, even trialling an NFC based case for iPhone users allowing them to use the ‘KaChing’ app to Tap & Pay. They launched a new Tap & Pay system in 2013, which involved applying an NFC enabled sticker to the rear of your phone but this expanded functionality for Android users running KitKat or later is much more convenient – and more importantly doesn’t involve sticking something to your phone.
The app with the new functionality will be seeded to users in a staged rollout through Google Play, with 20% of users already receiving the updated app, and plans to have 50% of users offered the new app by Monday. The What’s New section of the CommBank Google Play entry describes the update – which appears to also include a widget :
Make Tap & Pay payments using your phone’s NFC (for compatible phones on Android 4.4 or above. Payments from eligible transaction accounts only, not available for credit cards at this time). Also set up a widget for quick access to Tap & Pay
The app is working, though there seems to be reports of an issue with disabling and then re-enabling Tap & Pay, with a number of users.
If you’re a Commonwealth Bank user, with a phone running Android 4.4, this is pretty exciting. Head on over to Google Play now to check and see if the update is seeding for you now. Now to see where the other big Aussie banks are at with NFC based payments for Android.
Edit: It’s something to note that only Tap & Pay for Debit Cards is supported at this stage, with Credit functionality still to arrive. We’ll be speaking with CommBank next week regarding the Tap & Pay feature and hope to bring you more information soon.