CBA launches cardless ATM cash withdrawal service

Commonwealth Bank Australia is introducing the first cardless ATM cash withdrawal service in Australia, with the company planning to roll out the new functionality to at least 99 percent of its ATMs by the end of May.

Commonwealth Bank Australia (CBA) has announced the introduction of Australia's first cardless ATM cash withdrawal service, with the new functionality set to be rolled out to its national network of ATMs by the end of May.

At a media event in Sydney today, CBA's executive general manager of cards, payments, analytics and strategy, Angus Sullivan, said the new service will be rolled out to around 3000, or about 99 percent of, ATMs nationally, with some legacy ATMs unable to integrate the update.

The cardless cash service is designed to be used with the CommBank mobile app and allows customers to withdraw up to AU$200 per day without a card. It also allows customers to authorise remote withdrawals from an account by non-account holders via a mobile phone and PIN authorisation process.

The new functionality will be available to iPhone and Android smartphone users.

For Sullivan, the new service is another step towards a "fully functioning mobile wallet" for CBA customers.

"Customers see banks as the natural providers of their mobile wallet and we will continue to offer the latest solutions to enhance their day-to-day banking experience," he said.

Sullivan also said that the new service would provide a means to reduce instances of ATM skimming, as it removes the use of a card from transactions.

"The cardless cash service takes away skimming," he said. "With mobile payments and cardless cash, you remove the opportunity for a device to be physically read, so from a security perspective this is a good innovation."

However, according to Sullivan, the security factor was not the driving force behind the development of the new service. Sullivan said that customer feedback indicated people wanted to be able to use their phones for cash access.

"These days, people are less likely to leave their phone at home when they go out than their wallet," he said.

Another security-related service CBA announced at the event was a new 'lock and limit' feature allowing its credit card customers to use the CommBank app to control the security and spending on their card.

The lock and limit service, also due to be rolled out by the end of May, gives customers the ability to block ATM transactions, limit transaction amounts and block international transactions.

CBA also announced its own entry into the local mobile device payments market, with the release of its small business app and accompanying mobile-paired card reading device, 'Emmy'. The new app can also be paired to CBA's retail-targeted 'Leo' payments terminal.

The new card reader can accept payments from several card-based reader systems, including contactless, chip and PIN, and swipe. The app also allows vendors to accept BPay, eftpos, cash, and cheque, while providing electronic invoices for both buyers and sellers.

CBA will charge a AU$30 monthly 'Simple Merchant Plan' fee to vendors for the service. The CommBank small business app will be available as part of a Simple Merchant Plan on iPhone and Android devices from June 2014.

The new app and Emmy card reading device are being delivered to a market which is already populated by a number of similar devices and mobile-based services.

In early April, online payments giant, PayPal, announced the release of its revamped mobile-paired card reader. Also playing in the local mobile payments market are Square and MYOB , with its PayDirect mobile card reading system.