Commonwealth Bank of Australia has unveiled Kaching, a mobile phone application and case capable of conducting NFC-based, e-mail P2P, and Facebook payments from a single handheld device.
Commbank Kaching combines peer-to-peer payments via the phone's contacts and email addresses, and 'social payments' via a user's Facebook friends along with NFC contactless technology.
Reflecting customer uptake of CBA mobile banking services, Kaching will initially be available on the iPhone only. Seventy-nine per cent of smartphone log-ins by CBA customers arrive via an iPhone, says the bank.
CBA is mounting a big investment in mobile technology on the back of a recent surge in uptake by consumers. Figures reveal that in August this year, over 16 million logons were made to CBA's online platform NetBank using a mobile device. This represents a 229% increase from the same period last year.
David Lindberg, executive general manager cards, payments and retail strategy says: "The recent explosion in uptake of digital and smartphone technology has revolutionised how we all transact, interact and communicate with each other, and this new application will make the dream of mobile payments a reality."
The Kaching app will be freely available from Apple's app store. Once the customer has selected an account to both receive and make payments from, Commbank Kaching will enable them to pay anyone via MasterCard PayPass, an email address, phone number or Facebook friendship. Depending on the format selected for payment, the transaction will either take place instantly, or generate a unique code for delivery to the recipient, allowing them to access their payment online at a convenient time.
Users wishing to activate the NFC functionality will need to use an iCarte cover - billed as an interim technology by the bank - which is available for purchase during the app installation process. With the cover in place, customers can make payments of up to $100 by a simple tap of a phone in retailers with MasterCard PayPass-enabled terminals.
"Mobile and online social payment is the next step in transaction technology," says Lindberg. "Already, more than half our 10 million customers own a smartphone, and Australians are 65 per cent more likely than the British to bank on their phones. Now, for the first time, Australian consumers will no longer have to rely on cash or cards to make payments to family, friends or even businesses."