The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has reduced its app portfolio with the merging of its existing CommBank and Kaching apps into a new CommBank app that will support near-field communication (NFC) payments.
The app will be available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 (WP8) platforms; however, WP8 will miss out on the payment functionality. NFC payments will be supported using the secure element built into Android devices, but the exact devices to be supported were not announced by CBA.
For iOS devices, due to the lack of an in-built NFC element, a MasterCard PayTag sticker on the back of the iOS device will provide compatibility with MasterCard's PayPass technology. The bank said that the infrastructure to support PayTag was built predominately in-house, and that no actual communication occurs between the CommBank app and the PayTag sticker; all verification of payments takes place within the CBA core banking facilities, meaning that there is no actual requirement for the sticker to adorn the case of a phone, and it could be put onto any object that the user desires.
Users who wish to make use of the payments functionality in the app will have to pay a one-time AU$2.99 fee, and if they choose to use the PayTag, they will have to wait to have the sticker mailed to them.
Other functionality offered in the app includes new swipe gestures to quickly see a nominated account balance and ATM locations; the ability to pay bills via QR codes; changing a card PIN number within the app; and Kaching functionality that allows for payments via Facebook, email, or phone number.
The original CommBank app, launched in 2011, has been downloaded over 3.7 million times, and has almost 2 million active users.
The bank said that it has seen contactless payments grow sixfold in the past 12 months, and that Australia is the leading PayPass market in the world.
"As the only Australian bank with an NFC payment solution for both iPhone and Android devices, this will transform the way our customers make everyday payments," said Angus Sullivan, executive general manager, cards, payment, analytics, and retail strategy.
The app will be rolling out across its three supported platforms throughout the rest of the year and into 2014.