CBA includes Android in search for NFC support for iPhone 5

CBA includes Android in search for NFC support for iPhone 5

Summary: Now having to find a new way to get NFC and Kaching to work together on the iPhone 5, the Commonwealth Bank has said its new method of supporting NFC will also look at bringing the technology to Android devices.

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With the new, longer iPhone 5 making the Kaching case unusable, and a lack of built-in Near-Field Communication (NFC) hardware in the iPhone 5, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is looking for another way to allow contactless payments for both the new Apple device and Android phones.

At the moment, only iPhones support contactless payments via an NFC-enabled iCarte case, which can be purchased via the bank. While CBA could not confirm whether a new "holistic solution" would be in the form of a sticker, another case, or another form of technology, it said its Mobile Apps Team would certainly be looking at supporting both types of devices this time around.

While the bank supported Apple devices via an iCarte case, it did not do the same for Android devices, and despite bringing its mobile payment app Kaching to Android, it was unable to take advantage of native NFC support built in to selected handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. This effectively limited contactless payments to Apple devices only.

ZDNet understands that the bank was informed of the iPhone 5's new specifications only yesterday, meaning that if the bank were to go down the path of another NFC-enabled case for the iPhone 5, it would likely be very early in its planning and negotiation stages. The bank declined to comment on whether it would enter into another partnership with Wireless Dynamics for a new iPhone 5 case, but it did confirm that owners of the previously compatible iPhones would still be able to obtain an NFC-enabled case from the bank.

Wireless Dynamics did not respond to requests for comment at the time of writing.

The bank also announced today that its Commbank, NetBank and Kaching apps have been undergoing testing with iOS 6, and will be ready for customers when they choose to update to the latest mobile operating system.

Topics: Banking, Android, Apple, E-Commerce

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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3 comments
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  • Why No Android?

    I don’t understand what was meant (in the linked, previous article) about “access” to the NFC chip in Android devices being “currently missing”. There’s a whole public API that any app can use, and it’s documented right here: http://developer.android.com/reference/android/nfc/package-summary.html

    What more do they need? If we can do secure Internet banking and money transfers through off-the-shelf Web browsers running on off-the-shelf OSes on off-the-shelf PCs, what’s so hard about enabling such transfers through off-the-shelf mobile devices?
    ldo17
  • Oh apple, double bad

    Not only no NFC in iPhone 5, the strap on NFC solution the bank developed won't work. Talk about giving Android a leg up!
    paulhknight
  • Oh no ...

    this bank is going to incur the wrath of Apple if it is not careful ! ;-)
    jkohut