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Monday, 19 March 2012 19:09

Commbank sketches mobile future

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More than 120,000 people have now downloaded the Commonwealth Bank's Kaching iPhone payments app - but it's still not saying how many people have forked out the $54.95 for the iCarte case which allows Kaching users to make contactless payments.

Kaching and the case were made available in Australia in mid-December, and a new version of the app with an improved log in screen and a number of bug fixes was released last week.

According to Andrew Murrell the general manager of channel marketing for the bank, within 18 months mobile is expected to become the most popular way for customers to connect with the bank. He said that already it was handling more than 2.6 million mobile transactions a week from 1 million plus customers and that there had been a total of 2.7 million downloads of its various mobile apps.

The Commonwealth Bank today sketched out what the future might hold in terms of the mobile applications that bank customers could expect. An Android version of the Kaching app will be next in line according to Drew Unsworth, general manager of online banking. 'We are in the final stages of build and then I think we will be testing next month with staff,' he said.

If CommSec's experience is anything to go by then the iPhone remains firmly in ascendancy among the bank's user base. According to Richard Burns, general manager of customer experience for CommSec, about 85 per cent of the downloads of its recently upgraded app were for iPhones with about 15 per cent going to Android devices.

In the first ten days after the new CommSec app was released he said there were 30,000 downloads - 24,000 being updates for existing users, and 6,000 were new users of the app. The latest version is the first to be available on Androids however, which may go some way to explaining the headstart the iPhone appears to hold.

Users of Android phones are unlikely however to ever be offered the Kaching iCarte case because of the multiple different form factors of Android phones, and the fact that the bank expects most future smartphones to be equipped with their own Near Field Communications (NFC) chips rendering a separate NFC case obsolete.


As far as other platforms are concerned, don't hold your breath for a version of the app for BlackBerrys. Mr Unsworth said that CBA statistics showed that there was a tail off in the number of BlackBerry phones being used by CBA customers.

Instead he suggested that the third Kaching platform would likely be developed for Windows phones. And while about one in ten Kaching downloads today is for use on an iPad according to Mr Unsworth, in the future the bank plans to explore how it can develop a specially tailored Kaching for iPad instead of offering just a blown up version of the iPhone app.

Users of the bank's Netbank online banking system can also expect to see some of the payments capabilities that Kaching offers made available via the web site he said.

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