CommBank's new mobile app will soon let you pay using your smartphone

The new CommBank app effectively combines the bank's two existing apps, CommBank and Kaching

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has announced an upcoming banking application for iOS and Android devices that will allow users to wirelessly pay for goods and services using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, but it won't be available for another few months.

The new CommBank app, as it appears on the bank's website.
The new CommBank app, as it appears on the bank's website.

The new CommBank app effectively combines the banks two existing apps, CommBank and Kaching. The app will enable contactless payments of up to $100 in two ways, depending on the smartphone variant a customer uses.

For iOS devices, CommBank will provide a "PayTag" sticker that attaches to the back of the phone. The sticker can be purchased through the CommBank application for a one-off fee of $2.99.

For Android smartphones, CommBank says it will provided an "embedded NFC solution" for a selected range of devices. However, the bank was coy on how many phones in Australia would be compatible with the feature, saying it isn't currently in a position to announce any further details.

The CommBank PayTag sticker attaches to the back of a smartphone and will cost $2.99.
The CommBank PayTag sticker attaches to the back of a smartphone and will cost $2.99.

CommBank executive general manager for Cards, Payments, Analytics and Strategy, Angus Sullivan, said while the PayTag technology sounds simple, it taps into the bank's extensive back-end technology, similar to a credit card.

"It's quite a bit more sophisticated than a credit card stuck on the back of a phone. It does have that element to it, but obviously the smart pay tag communicates between the two devices and that's what provides the functionality for us to be able to turn that on and off. It also provides us with the functionality to be able to change the account where the funds are coming from."

"In terms of the [Android] phones and the platforms, we're not currently in a position where can can announce what phones it's going to be on, but over the coming months we'll be able to go through that in more detail"

CommBank confirmed the new app will also be released on the Windows Phone platform, but without the ability to make wireless payments using NFC technology.

In addition to the built-in "tap & pay" feature, the new CommBank app will allow users to look up ATMs and branches on a map, activate a new credit or debit card, change the PIN code on any card, and pay BPay bills by scanning a QR code on the bill.

The app will also allow users to share a receipt once they've made a payment, choose to log in using a four digit PIN or a traditional NetBank password, and will provide quick shortcuts to each linked bank account by swiping a contextual menu.

CommBank executive general manager for Cards, Payments, Analytics and Strategy, Angus Sullivan, demonstrating the new CommBank app at a Media event in Sydney.
CommBank executive general manager for Cards, Payments, Analytics and Strategy, Angus Sullivan, demonstrating the new CommBank app at a Media event in Sydney.

Existing functionality in CommBank's current Kaching app on iOS and Android will be provided in the app, including the ability to make peer-to-peer payments (P2P) via mobile, e-mail and Facebook.

Like the existing Kaching app, the upcoming CommBank app will enable mobile, e-mail and Facebook payments to non Commonwealth Bank customers by directing these users to a secure, external site to collect payments.

CommBank first announced the Kaching app for iOS back in October 2011, before officially making it available in December that year. It paired with a compatible iCarte case to provide the required NFC technology for contact-less payments.

The bank followed up the launch of Kaching for iOS by releasing it to Android devices in July last year, but the app lacked the ability to make wireless payments using NFC.

The new CommBank app will be launching "within the next few months" and is currently In final stages of testing.

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Tags contactless paymentNFCmobile bankingsmartphonesbankingCommBank appCommonwealth Bank of Australiabanking appcommbankkaching

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Ross Catanzariti

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