Commmonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is making a move into the point-of-sale hardware market, teaming up with German tech firm Wincor Nixdorf and Ideo to launch a seven inch Android-based tablet system dubbed Albert.
Designed to compete with traditional static electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) devices, Albert is intended to increase flexible merchant-customer interaction. It is named after Albert Einstein.
The new Albert tablet from CBA contains a secure EMV interface for accepting chip and PIN cards, receipt printer, near-field communications (NFC) chip for contactless payments and 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Albert was initially meant to come to market in 2013 but it is understood it encountered problems getting the PIN functionality to work on a touch screen and passing European standards tests concerning its resiliency against being dropped or damaged. The product is here now, however, and aiming at the global EFTPOS market.
According to the bank, the portable and user-friendly hardware device, which is supported by a software ecosystem, meets the highest security standards, including the Payments Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS).
Key features include the option to email receipts and invoices; open a customer account that can be paid later; record and track daily, weekly and yearly payments; and collect useful business analytics and insights for merchant customers. Albert can also integrate with customers' enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to help business clients' stock taking and reordering procedures.
The Albert EFTPOS tablet comes pre-loaded with its core payment app and other CBA app functions, such as Split Bill, which allows restaurant bills to be split up to 10 ways. Other apps include Daily IQ, which provides cash-flow reporting and location-specific business insights to corporate customers.
Cash Counter, Open Tab and Community Giver apps are also available. Any further apps, which the bank is encouraging to drive uptake beyond its own customer base, will be made available over the open source Pi Business Network software platform.
According to Gary Roach, managing director of payments & cash management services at CBA: “The payments landscape is rapidly evolving as Australians embrace new technology and there is a growing need for a more powerful, open platform which can adapt to changing customer needs, and provide real-time analytics."
Competition is likely to come from alternative iPad and smartphone offerings in what is becoming an increasingly congested EFTPOS marketplace.