CBA, Westpac test cardless cash waters

Commonwealth Bank has proof that cardless ATM cash withdrawals are popular among consumers, now it's Westpac's turn to see the results with the launch of Westpac Emergency Cash.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Commonwealth Bank has indicated that the uptake of its new Cardless Cash service has been a "huge success", just weeks after the launch of the new offering.

The bank launched Cardless Cash last month, allowing customers to withdraw up to AU$200 without a card, while also allowing customers to authorise remote withdrawals from an account by non-account holders via a mobile phone and PIN authorisation process.

CommBank has reported that within the first two weeks of launch, more than AU$1 million of cash transactions occurred through Cardless Cash, and up to 1,000 customers were using the app each day.

Angus Sullivan, Commonwealth Bank executive general manager of cards, payments, analytics, and retail strategy, told ZDNet it demonstrates that there is a fundamental shift in the way consumers are using their smartphones to bank.

"People just love the mobile phone, the app, and banking on the go," he said.

"It's such a huge win when we have 2.5 million customers on the app. Turning on new functionality like this, it's immediately in the hands of a huge number of customers."

Sullivan believes two factors have driven the rapid uptake.

"People really love the idea of using the phone for banking. There's a bunch of early adopters who find the idea of being able leave the plastic, use the mobile phone really appealing," he said.

"That emergency functionality also really resonates with folks, whether it's because I've left my wallet at home or in the office and I needed to get some cash out. I think there are just a whole lot of points that resonates with customers immediately."

A similar technology offering has been launched by Westpac, known as Westpac Emergency Cash. Westpac customers who find themselves without their card, can dial the Westpac call centre to obtain a unique code, which will enable them to withdraw cash from their nearest Westpac ATM.

Customers will be able to make up to three cardless withdrawals a day to the value of AU$1,000, with a total withdrawal limit of AU$2,000 per week.

The launch of Westpac Emergency Cash is in response to findings uncovered by the Westpac emergency cash report that showed 1.9 million ATM cards are reported lost or stolen each year, and almost four million Australians have been left stranded without cash in the past 12 months.

The report also found 62 percent of Australians call their bank as soon as they realise their wallet is lost.

"At some time, most of us have found ourselves in situations without our wallet — Westpac Emergency Cash helps customers get cash, when they need it most — hopefully making those moments a little less inconvenient, less stressful or in some cases even a little less embarrassing," said David Lindberg, Westpac chief product officer.

"Whatever your cash emergency is — whether you've lost your wallet, it's been stolen or you've simply left it at home — it can be solved by a quick phone call any time of the day or night, to receive a cash code to get your cash."

From September, customers will also be able to generate a unique code in Westpac mobile banking to make a cardless cash withdrawal.

Sullivan said that with rival Westpac's introduction of the Westpac Emergency Cash it's more proof that consumers are after more convenient ways to bank, however notes that the aspect that Westpac customers need to dial a call centre for a unique code in his mind is "old technology".

"I'm not sure if that's the easiest way for customers to access that functionality. Having it in the app is an absolute game changer for us and if I think about what we've brought to market, the fact that it's immediately at the fingertips of 2.5 million customers, that's a huge win.

"It reinforces the mobile as the place [customers] want to go to. It's a win for us from a productivity perspective because it's fast and simple for our customers, and [Westpac] are seeing the same opportunity, but I think having it in the app is a no brainer, and for our customers to have that functionality loaded in the app it's a huge win for them."

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