Australia’s Commonwealth Bank is planning to "revolutionize" mobile payments in the country with a new mobile app that combines NFC, peer-to-peer payments and social payments via Facebook.
The app is called 'Kaching' (as in the sound made by a cash register) and is the most all-inclusive payments app to ever be released by a banking institution.
A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson told Relaxnews, "Globally Commbank Kaching is the first mobile banking app to fuse social, peer-to-peer and near field communications (NFC) payment technology. This triple-play differentiates the app and provides our customers with convenience and customer service through improvement and innovation. The ability to pay a Facebook friend is also a first."
Kaching users will be able to make payments of up to AU$100 (about €75) to anyone via an email address, phone number or Facebook friendship and will use contacts from the mobile device's phone contact book, or friends from the user's Facebook profile to initiate the transaction.
"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," said the Commonwealth Bank spokesperson. "In the case of Facebook, notification will be made to the recipient that they have received a payment, and they need to obtain the collection code from the payer to retrieve their funds."
Peer-to-peer mobile payments and NFC payment technology is starting to take off in the US thanks to the launch of Google Wallet and the rise of innovative payment startups like Square.
Australia has the second highest smartphone penetration in the world, second only to Singapore, but mobile payment technology has yet to enter the mainstream in the country.
Banks have typically been reluctant to roll out mobile payment services and consumers are mostly unaware that the technology exists, but with one of Australia’s "big four" banks championing the technology, Australians will be quick to catch on.
"Mobile and online social payment is the next step in transaction technology. 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," said David Lindberg, executive general manager Cards, Payments and Retail Strategy at Commonwealth Bank in an October 25 statement.
"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. 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," continued Mr. Lindberg.
According to the bank, up to 50 percent of mobile handsets will be NFC-enabled by 2014, "delivering up to $50 billion of mobile payment transactions globally."
Commonwealth Bank’s Kaching application will be launching for iPhone users in the coming months.
Commbank will also launch an iCarte smartphone case with built-in NFC support for contactless payments, the price of which "is still to be determined" said the Commonwealth Bank spokesperson.
An Android version of the Kaching application is due to be launched in 2012.
Customers can pre-register for the app by visiting www.commbank.com.au/kaching.