by Byron Connolly

CommBank debuts cardless ATMs

Apr 30, 20144 mins
Financial Services IndustryRisk Management

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has beefed up its mobile wallet offering with three additions to the app, including one that enables consumers to withdraw cash using their smartphones from 3,000 of the bank’s ATMs.

Cardless Cash enables 2.3 million registered CommBank app users to withdraw up to $200 once a day using a smartphone or nominate someone else to transact on their behalf.

The user selects the amount to withdraw and two unique numbers are issued -– an 8 digit cash code, which appears on the app’s home screen; and a 4 digit cash PIN, which is sent by text message from the bank. The user then enters both numbers at the ATM to retrieve the money.

The bank has also added ‘Lock and Limit’, which enables credit card users to lock and unlock certain transaction types and set a limit per transaction to control spending.

According to Angus Sullivan, executive general manager, cards, payments, analytics and strategy at CBA, this represents a substantial shift in how credit cards work in Australia. He said that historically, managing fraud and controlling spending on these cards has been a very reactive process.

“If the transaction looks large or suspicious, banks have real-time fraud capability that might flag that transaction … what we’ve done is bring that capability right to the fore for our customers, putting them in control on their mobile phone,” he said.

The third innovation – the CommBank Small Business app – enables small businesses to accept on-the-spot payments, create estimates and invoices instantly, and manage their cash flow and business operations from their mobile device.

The app works with ‘Emmy’, an EFTPOS payment terminal that enables businesses to accept secure tap-and-go card payments, or payment is using an encrypted chip and PIN code. Emmy uses Bluetooth to connect to the app on iOS or Android devices.

Read: Commonwealth Bank survey predicts triumph of mobile wallets

Lisa Frazier, executive general manager, digital channels at CBA, said the CommBank app is currently being used to complete $1.1 billion in transfers and payments from 9 million logons each week.

She said the uptake of the app was five times faster than ‘Kaching’, another payments app that CBA last year said would be axed.

“We have been surprised by the uptake and usage of the CommBank app, it’s far faster than expected,” said Frazier. “This shows that the mobile app, mobile banking and transactions is becoming the norm.”

The latest innovations follow CommBank’s announcement in December that its app added near field communication (NFC) technology, which enables Android smartphone users to make MasterCard PayPass payments using the bank’s ‘Tap Pay’ system.

This followed competitor Westpac’s announcement that its customers could pay for products and services in stores by tapping their Android smartphones against payment terminals.

Around 10 per cent of CommBank app users are using the ‘Tap Pay’ system for small transactions, totalling $1 million per week, said Frazier.

CBA conducted research that suggested 50 per cent of Australians believes the mobile wallet will become the norm for payment in the near future, said Frazier.

“Seventy-three per cent of them think that the mobile wallet will replace the wallet in 7 years time,” she said.

Michael Harte, CIO at CBA, said the idea for the cardless ATM offering came out of an internal competition at the bank.

“We run competitions for staff to put together their own ideas and have categories of $10,000 to $100,000 for the business case development. When this idea came through the competition, the person [who came up with it] had already trialled the capability,” he said.

“That’s one of the delightful things we are seeing within the [bank’s] culture … staff can design things at very high speed, very low cost and with very low risk. They can bring those forward, we can try them out, experiment with them, get them built in an Agile manner and scale them. This is an extraordinary competitive capability,” he said.