NAB to open beta test banking app with transaction controls

NAB will release its new banking app for open beta testing for Android users in the coming weeks.

The National Australia Bank has been working on a new banking app that will allow its customers to turn off features of Visa debit and credit cards on the fly.

Users will be able to temporarily block cards, turn off online shopping, disable PayWave functionality, and prevent cash withdrawals from ATMs.

NAB digital general manager Todd Copeland said the bank was able to offer the functionality thanks to a partnership with Visa.

"We've had a lot of feedback from customers, where they've accidentally made a cash withdrawal on their credit card, and they get charged maybe a fee or a cash advance, and they didn't mean to do that ... so you can turn that off," he said.

Copeland said the app has 60 to 70 percent of the functionality of the final version, and is currently in beta with 2,000 users across both Android and iOS. In a fortnight, all Android customers will be able to test the bank's new app by downloading it from the Google Play store.

The bank said it intends to release the completed app later this year in staged functionality releases, depending on user feedback.

NAB said it will also launch Paytag sticker for NFC payments, functionality that rival banks introduced years ago to support contactless payments on Apple handsets.

A number of Australia's largest banks, including NAB, applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to allow them to collectively negotiate with Apple for access to the NFC chip within the iPhone. The ACCC denied interim authorisation, saying it needed more time to make its decision.

Of Australia's big four banks, only ANZ offers Apple Pay functionality, but, according to its competitors, only after it "pulled a fast one" and left the group requesting collective bargaining rights.

Earlier this month, the bank changed its acting chief technology and operations officer in an executive reshuffle as it continues its search for a permanent replacement.

In June, the bank opened up its contactless NAB Pay feature within its current banking app to all personal Visa cards, and added the ability to use replacement credit cards within minutes of one being issued by the bank.