Commbank App Upgrade Adds NFC Via Stickers

Commbank App Upgrade Adds NFC Via Stickers

The Commonwealth Bank has overhauled its mobile banking application with a host of new features including NFC instant payment options and a redesigned user interface. In an interesting break from tradition, the new app is landing on Android and Windows Phone platforms first, with iPhone users forced to wait until January.

The new Android app’s main claim to fame is its near field communication (NFC) ‘Tap & Pay’ functionality, which allows CBA customers to make instant MasterCard PayPass payments with their phones.

This will work in a number of ways depending on the type of phone you have. Samsung Galaxy S4 (i9505 and i9507) owners will have Tap & Pay built directly into the app via their phone’s embedded NFC chip. All other Android users will need to purchase a CommBank ‘PayTag’ NFC sticker that attaches to the back of your smartphone. This will set you back $2.99.

The Windows Phone version does not currently support ‘Tap & Pay’ although the update does sport a redesigned UI and a host of new shortcuts.

The new CommBank app is available now from Windows Apps+Games and the Google Play Store, respectively. The iOS version won’t be appearing until January 2014.

We think it’s pretty interesting that the iPhone is last in line. Just the other month, we were complaining that Apple’s refusal to embrace NFC was holding back the technology. Could this be some kind of turning point? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

See also: Android! Facebook! No NFC! CommBank’s Somewhat Confusing Kaching Strategy | Is Apple Ruining NFC Payments For Everyone?


  • This is awesome! Even if I have to attach a dopey sticker to the back of my phone, I’m in.

    Kinda over carrying my credit card around and making sure it doesn’t get bent.

    • If you have a case, put the sticker on the inside of the case, or i presume you don’t actually have to have it on the phone if you didnt want to (i cant see that it operates any differently than a regular credit card paywave).

      Strange they don’t support Nexus 5 and other phones that have native NFC though since KitKat supports Host Card Emulation.

      Unfortunately there are not enough places have paywave yet for my liking to abandon carrying a card, and i still haven’t forgiven Commonwealth for screwing me over when i was a kid (been with Bank Of Melb/Westpac for 20years since, though i don’t recall what they did all i know is i blacklisted them and they will need more than a nice app to sway me back.)

      • Problem with a case is that unless you get one that is going to last the life of your phone, and which cases do, then you will need to either peel it off or buy another one.

        Conversely, when you ditch your phone you’ll need to do the same thing I guess. I might attach it to my Credit Card for convenience.

        Kiddie blacklists last longer than adult ones! I won’t go anywhere near Tandy.

        • My Speck HD case i got free from Apple as part of the iPhone4 ‘antennagate’ settlement, i’ve had for over 3 years and its done brilliantly, a few scratch marks on it but you have to look closely (saved my phone a few times too), my wifes 3GS case which was a softish bulky one not sure who made it is finally tearing at the mute switch location after 4 years.

          Either way they are only $3 unless you go through lots of cases its pretty cheap and keeps your phone in nice condition for resale if that’s a concern (i generally use phones until they have little to no resale value anyway so its not really a bother to me).

          On the inside of the case people may be less likely to notice if the phone is stolen and if someone is going to steal a phone then they probably wouldn’t think twice about using it to make purchases (i don’t know if there is any authentication required to use it like you need to enter a pin in the app less than an hour before purchase to enable it to be used, but it would be neat to have that option if your going to a risky area)

          I always liked Tandy. I boycotted Channel 9 for 2 or 3 years after they axed the Mick molloy show (except for star trek, i taped it and fast forward the ads as a compromise), and i abandoned MMM after Get This was canned (yet to return to them though), stopped listening to Gold FM after they got rid of Grubby and Dee Dee, but that didn’t last long once my belkin car dock stopped broadcasting so had to listen to the car radio).

  • Eh, I got tired of waiting for the CBA to integrate NFC into their app. I ended up getting a phone case some card slots. Now I don’t take anything else and it’s fine. I’m not prepared to deface my phone for one app.

        • Why not just put the sticker between your phone and the case. You don’t have to use the sticky bit if the case is holding it to the phone.

          • yeah, I hadn’t considered that. Though for me there’s no real point, I have a leatehr case with card holders, so its easier to whip out my card and pay than unlock my phone, boot up the app, etc. etc.

            If I had a wallet and phone, different story

          • Paying doesn’t need the app running, or the phone to even be on, to work. So long as you’ve set tag to ‘On’ in the app your ready to go.

            You could potentially have the tag anywhere and it’ll work. It’s just a smaller sized contactless credit card that you are able to turn on and off and change the linked account.

            I work at CBA and got my tag a little earlier after being part of the pilot. Have to say though, the target area of the tag is a little hard to trigger on the merchants terminal sometimes.

    • Samsung Galaxy S4 (i9505 and i9507) owners will have Tap & Pay built directly into the app via their phone’s embedded NFC chip.

      • Yeah, I can read. But NFC is NFC, so they could have released it for all phones.

        From Comm’s FAQ:
        What devices are supported for Tap & Pay?

        This feature is coming soon. We are currently finalising the devices that this feature will be made available to.

        If you don’t have a supported device you can still use Tap & Pay by ordering a CommBank PayTag from within the app.

          • Sadly it isn’t, not even the the ‘Tap & Pay’ sticker. But the ‘Tap & Pay’ sticker isn’t tied to the phone’s NFC. So if you have a partner who has an android/idevice, get them to order the sticker from their app, get the sticker and stick it on your 920 (which I personally hate). Besides the curvy finish of L920 wouldn’t let the sticker sit sung.

          • And I certainly wouldn’t want to mar the beautiful exterior of my phone with an icky sticker. Much sadness :(.

          • Be peeved. Not really possible to do for WP as it requires Secure Element SIM cards from carriers. AFAIK only Orange in France has done this so far.

          • SIGH.

            First the NBN, and now this… The world seems to be conspiring to keep the future from me :(.

        • Not entirely true, while the mechanics are the same, there are differences in the OS that pose issues for security. It is a matter of working with the phone vendor to overcome these.

  • The reason it does not work with other phones is because not all NFC chips in all phones are the same, thus require different drivers and systems etc. Samsung’s system is different to Google’s whose is different to someone else, etc. Samsung was the only company to provide support to CBA to get it working. If you recall the previous articles about this CBA complained a lot about Google. As nobody really knows, best guess is that Google didn’t want to help out because CBA’s option is essentially a competitor to Google Wallet, even though Google Wallet only works in the US.

    The CBA Tap and Pay tag is about the same thickness of a credit card and is about 2/3 the size. So before you actually stick it underneath your case, check that your case will still fit with it under there, a few people have found that it doesn’t, depending on case.

    Also this isn’t “new” technology, CBA are adapting current existing technology. The NFC tag is essentially an NFC Credit Card in it’s own right. The difference being is that CBA have put a lot of work into the backend so that you can nominate an account to be associated with it and turn it on/off etc at will.

  • It doesn’t work on Netbank accounts with net token 2-factor authentication, even though the app says you can get an SMS sent with the code – that part doesn’t work, nor does the setting of the 4-digit pin. This is for an HTC One X. As it stands, it can only give the account balance of only 1 account – that’s it nothing else – which makes it pretty useless. There aren’t even any error messages or indications that it has failed to perform the required action.

  • I have a nexus 5, do I need to buy the chip too because this nexus 5 already has the NFC chip inside the phone?

  • The iPhone costs Apple only $200 to make and they sell it to phone retailers for $700, the highest margins in the business. The only reason to buy an iPhone is for the looks. But if you’re going to put a sticker or even a case on your iPhone and make it look ugly, you’ve pretty much wasted your money.

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