Kaching Is Commonwealth Bank's iOS-Only NFC Payment System

Commonwealth Bank has outlined its plans to offer near-field communication (NFC) payments and peer-to-peer payments for iPhone users through a new app called Kaching -- but you'll need a bank supplied case and there's no Android option on the agenda straight away.While NFC can potentially be used for all kinds of applications, the main driver behind adding it to phones has been the notion of exchanging payments. NFC lets devices in close proximity communicate wirelessly with each other, which makes it possible to (for example) pay for something simply by swiping your phone over a payment terminal.

The cheesily-named Kaching application will let Commonwealth Bank customers send peer-to-peer payments through mobile phones using your existing address book; via email in the same way; or through Facebook. Typical usage scenarios might be splitting a restaurant bill, paying a babysitter, or even pay pocket money to your kids. You can share payments with non-Commonwealth Bank customers, who can download an app to have the payment shared to their own account. The app will also offer the vast majority of NetBank functions; the idea is that you'll use it rather than the existing NetBank app (or site).

More: •First Look At The Commonwealth Bank’s Kaching App

Those payment sharing features don't require NFC, but if you want to make contactless payments using the PayPass system, you'll need NFC abilities. The app offers real-time updates, so you can see a payment has been made as soon as it has been processed.

The big challenge for anyone wanting to use NFC is the fact that not many phones in the local market have built in NFC capabilities. There's a handful of Android models that offer it, but not generally through major carrier deals. Commonwealth is sidestepping the issue by supplying an iCarte case with a built-in NFC chip which can be used with any iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S model. The bank says its iPhone app has been downloaded 1.9 million times, so that's still a healthy pool of users to draw on.

Where does that leave Android customers? "This application was designed very specifically for one device," cards GM David Lindberg told media at the launch. "The way to win in this space is to take care of the tiny details." So we'll ask again: Android? "Whatever smartphones our customers are using, we will design applications for it. We will shortly also be launching an Android version of this application. What it won't be is an iPhone app retro-fitted to Android."

Kaching officially launches today, but the app isn't immediately available; you can pre-register at the link below. The app will be free, and Commonwealth Bank officials at the launch were at pains to emphasise that there won't be any charges for using it to make peer-to-peer payments. You will have to pay for the case, though the final price hasn't been set.

Tempted by the ability to pay anyone and make quick purchases? Aching for an Android alternative? Tell us in the comments.

Commonwealth Bank


    Seems strange that they are not offering this for Android, considering that most of the new phones will have NFC chips built in and in the near future SD cards with the NFC chip on them to upgrade existing phones with SD card slots.

    it's an ugly case on your phone - no thanks.
    I might just wait for the NFC built-in version.

    I think it's ludicrous to target iPhone's as the first recipient of their roll out, but I can understand that they are (supposedly) targetting the masses - Alex over at Giz noted that CBA reckon 79% of smartphone's used on their netbanking system are iPhones; a figure I find surprising considering Android's growth over the last 12 months.

    Eitherway, it's great that it's happening, but I do still hold concerns over the security of funds involved with such technology. Having said that, I don't imagine CBA would implement it if they didn't believe it was safe.

    Me personally, I bank with BankWest because they offer the cheapest solution to my banking needs (Zero Transaction Account) - which has still yet to even roll out a chip into their debit cards. While the gimmicks are nice, it won't be something I'll be all that bothered about.

      I agree. Maybe there's more iOS users logging on right now not because there's more of them, but because their current Android app is terrible? I wouldn't know. Or maybe there's just a disproportionate amount of iPhone users that use the Commonwealth Bank. Seems to make sense actually, if they're the kind of people that don't care about or even like the walled garden, they're probably happy to pay transaction fees too.

      I'm with ING Direct myself, and their Android app is just a WebView that points to their mobile site, which is designed to look like an iOS app. Oops.

      Maybe if the Commonwealth Bank forges ahead with this, we'll have the hardware everywhere within a few years, and thus pave the way for Google Wallet to be useful here sooner.

        I agree. Maybe there’s more iOS users logging on right now not because there’s more of them, but because their current Android app is terrible? I wouldn’t know. Or maybe there’s just a disproportionate amount of iPhone users that use the Commonwealth Bank.

        One key point is when so many banking apps are merely a web interface disguised as an app, Android users are less likely to use them.
        On iPhone, everything resides on the homescreen(s) anyway, so having an app placed there is no different to having a bookmark on your homescreen in Android. When you're able to just bookmark, and avoid another app icon polluting your app drawer it's logical to discard the app. I also suspect this is also a key factor in why Apple's App Store is double the size of Android's.

        Having said that, even using CBA's net banking via your browser would still identify you as an Android user by the user agent.

          Your argument is fallacious. You (and the posts before you) assume that because the American media/blogs details the rise of Android that it is true here too.

          As Australia has always had the iPhone available on all carriers, Android has never been required or popular. It has a higher use percentage than Android tablets do amongst iPads but it in no way selling more than the iPhone by any figure you can choose to represent it.

          It is also targeted because the numbers speak for themselves. People who own iPhones are likely to have more money and to spend it on their devices and in the App Store. Would banks or companies target the demographic that the numbers prove do not pay for anything? Not a very good business strategy.

            The only comment regarding Android I made was that of "Android’s growth over the last 12 months". I provided no claim beyond that of how much market penetration Android has made in Australia beyond that. If you're claiming otherwise, I'd love you see you provide a source that backs your claims.

            Making broad generalisations that Android users are cheap compared with iPhone users just makes you sound like you're talking out your ass.

              Actually Ben you might want to take a bit of time to do some research before you start criticising other peoples comments. Embarrassingly you've criticised a slightly inaccurate comment by writing up a horribly inaccurate comment.

              You mention that "Android has never been required or popular". Lets look at the real facts, not the ones you made up in your head. iPhone holds 35.2% of the Australian market share, while Android is a close second holding 28.9%. Hardly a market share for a platform that is both not required and not popular.

              Much to the contrary of your factless comment Ben, Android is extremely important for the Australian market because unlike iOS it provides mid and low range handsets which are two very important target markets for Australians

              As for your comment about spending more money, you're going to have to back that up with facts that filter out app market differences and low and mid range handset users for a fair comparison.


    I would say the 79% of users being Iphone are due to most people using the Iphone Agent in their Android Browser.

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

        Actually Ben a lot of Android users would know or care how to do it, for a while Android users had to modify their user agent string in order to get the mobile formatted web content. Sometimes I still find a badly designed website that will only show mobile content for iPhone user agent strings.

        You seem to have minimal knowledge on Android. Maybe you should learn a bit about a topic before you start attacking people who do have knowledge. That way you don't look foolish.

    The new nokia N9 also has NFC but apparently doesn't handle payments. NFC seems to be the future though for payments.

    Android users don't have any money. Why would a blood-sucking bank be interested in them?

    I would hope CBA would support the Galaxy Nexus when it arrives. I would get a case for my iPhone if it was free but not because I need it. I also don't use the glorified web apps which NetBank is on my iPhone or Android mostly because I can just use the browser and because the mobile sites are arbitrarily crippled and force me to use the desktop versions anyway. I would wonder how successful ANZ's go money app has been which is similar with the exception of NFC. And does this case block my dock connector/use my battery/stop me using my car charger?

    lol just use bitcoins, problem solved

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