​Commonwealth Bank partners with Airtasker for identity verification

The bank has provided the online outsourcing company with a pilot identity verification solution for its customers.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has partnered with Airtasker to provide the outsourcing company with an identity verification function for its online platform, with the pilot expected to run for some months.

The bank's identification service uses a secure two-factor authentication process to authenticate the CBA customer, after which Airtasker then verifies that individual's identity.

The "CommBank Identified" badge is added to the customer's Airtasker profile if the name and date of birth held by CBA match those listed on Airtasker, which CBA said provides an additional layer of trust.

"CBA is focused on simplifying and enhancing customer experiences through its existing digital banking solutions," said executive general manager of digital at CBA Pete Steel.

"As our customers continue to use emerging online services, we believe we also have a role to play in enhancing that experience. Identity verification is one area where we can add value.

"As we develop new and innovative products and services, security and trust remains our number one priority."

The partnership was borne out of CBA's internal innovation and partnership team, and built in collaboration with Airtasker, with a pilot ready for testing within three months of initial discussions.

"For Airtasker, this is the first step in a broader project around verifying identity, skills, certifications and achievements. We're creating a reputation passport, which will help people know exactly who they are dealing with and what they are qualified for," Airtasker CEO Tim Fung said.

In October, CBA entered into a memorandum of understanding with Alipay, Alibaba's online payment platform, to deliver payment solutions to Australian and Chinese consumers and retailers.

Under the agreement that saw CBA become the first Australian bank to secure a deal with Alipay, the Chinese giant will use the bank's digital payments infrastructure to enable Australian consumers to make purchases across Alibaba Group's ecommerce websites including AliExpress.

CBA, in partnership with Wells Fargo and Brighann Cotton, claimed the first interbank trade transaction in October, combining blockchain technology, smart contracts, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The transaction, which took place between Brighann Cotton US and Brighann Cotton Marketing Australia, and their respective banks Wells Fargo and Commonwealth Bank, involved a shipment of 88 bales of cotton from Texas, USA to Qingdao, China.

At the time, the bank said the advancement from paper ledgers and manual processes to electronic trackers on a distributed ledger will reduce errors and accomplish in minutes what used to take days.

CBA also entered into a partnership with Barclays in September that saw the banks connecting with each other's apps to allow mobile payments between Australia and the UK.

At the same time, CBA also opened the doors to an innovation lab in London, joining Barclays' own Rise innovation hub, which has focused on fintech since 2014. CBA's innovation lab network now spans Sydney, Hong Kong, and London.

For the first half of the 2017 financial year, CBA reported AU$4.9 billion in statutory net profit after tax, up 6 percent of the same corresponding period a year prior. Operating income for the period experienced a 6 percent increase to AU$13.1 billion.

During the six-month period, the bank spent AU$1.2 billion on IT service, which was up from the AU$752 million it spent during the first half of FY16.

With total IT spend increasing 54 percent, the amortisation of software assets cost the bank AU$613 million during the six-month period, while AU$222 million was spent on technology application, maintenance, and development.

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