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CommBank app Android 1[2]

The Commonwealth Bank today announced a new app for Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 devices. The new app incorporates features from its existing apps like Kaching and introduces Tap-to-pay mobile payment functionality across all iOS and Android devices.

There’s also, appropriately, a concerted effort from CommBank to get the message out about security and privacy – they understandably want to make users more confident and comfortable using their facilities.

The new app features a friendly UI with access to frequently-used features up front and a heirarchical menu in a navigation drawer providing access to features, shortcuts to appropriate actions from the account list and an innovative UI to simplify transfers between accounts. The new UI calls to mind Qantas’ recent overhaul with a blurry picturesque photographic background and friendly Holo-style UI – this is in no way a bad thing, as it’s one of the better designed Android apps we’ve seen in the last few months.

CommBank is finally bringing contactless payments to Android

A new “coming soon” microsite has been launched to keep customers up to date on what they can expect from the new app.

Commonwealth Bank representatives were anxious to point out that the app brings feature partity to all platforms, although there should probably be a slight asterisk after that – Windows Phone misses out on mobile payments, and Android misses out on “Bump” payments – at least, for now. We’re told the Android team is working on it.

The big news is that CommBank is finally bringing contactless payments to Android. The feature is to be known as Tap & Pay and will use the NFC chip on “supported devices” and a CommBank-supplied NFC tag called a “Smart PayTag” on others.

Tap & Pay – NFC, Smart PayTags

Commonwealth Bank representatives confirmed the trend we’ve seen elsewhere – the online world is going mobile in a big way. Today, 56% of their logins come from mobile devices so it’s important that their offerings stay in line with the devices that their customers are using and the way in which they’re using them.

While the representatives on hand wouldn’t be drawn on which devices would make the “supported” list, we’re expecting at least Samsung‘s flagship device range and hoping for others. Support for the NFC chips found in Google’s own Nexus devices would be great, but we again heard the “access to the secure element” lament, which suggests that little has changed in this regard despite Commonwealth Bank and Google offices being a few minutes’ walk from each other. It seems possible that they might be less interested in talking to Google since they’ve got their own solution, anyway.

CommBank PayTag 1

CommBank will use Smart PayTags (seen here attached to a device from a non-Android manufacturer) on unsupported devices or those without NFC chips (again, as seen above). The PayTags are basically an NFC tag that you can you can stick to anything you might wish to use to make payments. CommBank expects consumers to stick it to the back of their phone, but it can really be stuck to anything you like.

A customer can order a Smart PayTag from within the app for a fee of $2.99. When the tag arrives in the mail, it can be activated from within the app. Once activated, the PayTag can be switched on and off, and the account to which it’s connected can be set via the app. There’s no actual communication between your device and the tag – the switch is done at CommBank’s end.

In many ways, the PayTags can be seen as an evolution of CommBank’s original iPhone Kaching cases – instead of building a new case for every device out there, you just stick the tag to your preferred device. We have a feeling there’s a stockpile of old cases hanging around somewhere in their HQ. It also neatly sidesteps any carrier involvement in the process and simplifies the process for the consumer.

While the Smart PayTag is a neat idea, the fact that customers have to pay for it is a little disappointing. While the fee’s low enough to be considered disposable, we’d rather see the fee waived entirely to encourage consumer uptake.

Pay Friends

You’ll be able to use the app to pay your friends quickly and easily using their email address, phone number from details stored in your phone or a Facebook contact. After making a payment, you can share the details to let them know.

When your friends receive the payment details they’ll be able to receive their money through the app or the desktop site, even if they’re not Commonwealth Bank customers.

Other features

The app will also feature ATM and branch locators with advanced search functionality so you can find a branch that can help you with a specific service.

Existing BPAY functionality will also be extended, with the ability to recognise QR codes from the device’s camera to make bill payments easier.

Release Forthcoming

A release window for the new app wasn’t specified — despite repeated queries, all we’re told is that it’ll be released “in the coming months”. When the new app is released, we’re led to believe that Kaching will be retired in favour of it.

Demonstrations at the event were performed on iPhones, but we’re trying to get hold of some more screenshots of the Android version, and waiting to hear back regarding tablet support. In the meantime, you can check out the below “screenshot”, which may also demonstrate CommBank’s support of cookies. 😉


We’re looking forward to seeing the new version of the app. Once it’s available we’ll let you know and do a deeper dive on it.

Does the new Commonwealth Bank app make you more willing to consider their services, or stop you switching to another bank? Does it increase your confidence that they’re taking mobile payments seriously?

Source: Commonwealth BankCommonwealth Bank.
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    Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. 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 large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!
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    Edward Dekkers

    If this is no add-in, sticker, sim change or other crap then I’m in! Just use my phone’s in-built NFC feature already! That’s what the damn thing is there for!


    I work for a bank, and would happily stop banking with them if this all works with Android. This is a long time coming. CBA will see growth, no doubt


    If the G Nexus gets supported i will concider setting up a Commbank account… won’t hold my breath though


    It says that you’ll be able to change which account its linked to within the app. I wonder if this would also link to your CommBank Mastercard and AMEX rewards cards? If they do….GOODBYE ANZ!


    I think charging a small fee for the tags is acceptable. I think if they were free some people would order hundreds of them, “just because”. Unfortunately, it’s always the minority that spoil it for the majority.

    Jason Murray

    I think they should give you one for free and charge for the second and beyond.


    I’d happily pay a small fee in the app to enable built-in NFC rather than use a stupid sticker if the banks a so desperate to stooge a couple more bucks out of me :-p


    Only an australian bank would attempt to charge for an NFC tag.

    alec cutler

    its $3, calm down

    Michael Wang

    Any news from ANZ?


    Come on Westpac…. geeez..!!!
    I have my Note 3 ready and waiting.
    Failing that, I might even consider opening a CBA account just to use it if the Note 3 gets listed as compatible.


    So what’s the “bump” thing we’re missing out on?


    Bump payment will be one of the ‘friend to friend’ payment methods… the functionality is supposed to be included for us when the bump app is out of beta on the play store…. (just joining some more imaginary dots wrt to googles purchase of Bump and mobile payments)


    About f$%#ing time.


    I’d open an account just to be able to use this. Unless ANZ picks up their game and does something similar. The important question is … will it work on rooted phones? :p


    After the AusPost app, you would think root = no go…


    A man can hope … :p

    Jason Murray

    I mentioned the AusPost app’s root check with the CBA representatives today. While they didn’t say there wouldn’t be a root check on the device, they did express surprise that AusPost would do such a thing.

    The existing Kaching app works on rooted phones, so I don’t see why they would add such a restriction.



    Damon Lewis

    I hope I can use this on my new Nexus 5 (When it’s announced/purchased/received). Failing that I hope KitKat gives me the tap and go I want.


    “When its announced”. Who knows when that is! the date keeps slipping

    Jason Murray

    The date doesn’t keep slipping. There’s never been a date set for an official announcement of the Nexus 5.


    Me want cookie!

    Happy Dog

    The fat ones always want a cookie

    Alexei Watson

    “The feature is to be known as Tap & Pay”

    Tap & Pay featured in KitKat leaks – coincidence?

    it’s a stretch, but what if google and commonwealth have teamed for this (other banks too?)


    That was my thoughts as well. Is the naming coincidental or intentional? Might get me to switch banks if it all links in together.

    Alexei Watson

    Oh me too, I’m with a small credit union, which only just got an android app in the last few weeks. If I can’t add my existing cards, I’d definitely consider switching banks. Geeky stuff like this is a big tempter.

    Jason Murray

    Good catch! We’ve fired off a query about this and will update if we get any useful information 🙂

    Damon Lewis

    Is it too much to hope for something like “Buy a Nexus 5 as an existing Commonwealth customer and get $50 off!”?