Should You Download The New CBA Banking App?

Should You Download The New CBA Banking App?
Image: Supplied

Commonwealth Bank announced it’s releasing a new app this week, which promises to offer customers better insights into how and where they’re using their money. But in order for them to give you all these great details, they’ll need artificial intelligence to interpret your data. Here’s what you need to know.

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Commonwealth Bank head of retail banking Angus Sullivan unveiled the new app at an event in Sydney this week, which promises to use billions of data points and advanced machine learning.

“This year the CommBank app will send 3 billion personalised messages to customers using 157 billion data points and 200 advanced machine learning models through our innovative customer engagement service,” Sullivan said.

“This is designed to give our 5.6 million app users greater control and visibility of their cash flow, including real-time insights into their spending behaviour, to help them achieve their goals and improve their financial well-being.”

The app will be rolling out for customers in the coming weeks.

So, what’s different?

The short of it is CBA is going to be using the data it already has, just with machine learning that faces customers.

Should You Download The New CBA Banking App?Image: YouTube/CommBank

Alongside some new design features made to help you navigate and personalise, the new app will be able to swiftly show your savings goals, along with how and where you’re spending your funds.

Additionally, it’s going to know a lot more about your subscription habits. Take for example your streaming or premium shopping subscriptions: if you’ve signed up for a free trial, the app will remind you about the upcoming payment once it’s about to end, giving you a much-needed nudge to cancel it.

To set these alerts up, head to Settings, then Notifications and switch the Billing notifications on.

Should You Download The New CBA Banking App?Image: Supplied

It’s also going to tell you about unusual payments like if you’ve paid for something twice and if you enable location settings, it’ll ask you why there’s a transaction in Los Angeles while you’re in downtown Brisbane.

What does this mean for the future?

It means banking’s about to get a whole lot more personalised. In the pipeline, according to Business Insider Australia, is the introduction of biometric data, which will allow you to access your account through a quick scan of your face. It’s not yet available but the bank’s CIO, Pete Steel said once it’s ready, our phones would be able to scan data from a passport and do a real time comparison with the customer’s face.

With the rising importance of biometrics, it seems banks are dipping their feet into the well too. It’s a win for our convenience but a mark against anonymity in an ever-connected world.

Should you download it?

It depends on how protective you are about your privacy and your level concern for potential breaches. There are still people out there who refuse to do online banking in any capacity.

Personally, we’re all for banking innovations that make life easier, even if that convenience comes at a small cost. In any event, there’s no escape from technological progress – sooner or later you’re not going to have much choice.

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  • Most of this data isn’t new, it’s already right there in your transactions. What’s different is that banks are wising up to the idea of using this data more intelligently.

    Think about it, they know what you spend, they know where you spend it, and with an app they could even track where you go (to be honest, I’d expect they do this anyway for security/fraud prevention).

    Expect to see banks using their data to more accurately guess certain ‘life events’ that they see as opportunities to upsell you something (e.g. insurance, loan, etc).

  • This article is confusing me, and I’m not sure if I just don’t get it or it’s flat out wrong. I got the update to the Commbank app yesterday, and it looks like it redesigned the home screen and… nothing else has changed…

    This article mentions some fancy stuff about notifying you of an upcoming payment of something you’ve got a free trial for. How would it know that? Poking around in the notification settings, I think it might be referring to getting reminders for BPay bills? Which, if I sign up for a free trial of Netflix, I’m not going to be able to set up BPay for it and get an ahead-of-time invoice that will remind me to cancel it, unless I’m missing something big.

    • Off-topic, their transaction notifications having a ‘no additional cardholders’ condition is weird. I have a shared account with my wife. When I use my card to pay for something, I get a notification. When she uses her card, she gets a notification. So each of us is only getting notifications about a fraction of the stuff going on in that account, because it doesn’t take into account each other’s cards, let alone direct debits and other forms of payment. Hell, it doesn’t even notify me when I use Samsung Pay. What even is the point of it?

      Sorry… Been needing to get that rant off my chest for a while now.

  • “This year the CommBank app will send 3 billion personalised messages to customers…” They have 5.6 million app users. Perhaps 10 million customers overall. That computes to between 300 and 500+ messages per customer per year. Anybody looking forward to such a “close relationship” with a “smart” bank?

    • Most of those will be opted-in notifications along the lines of “you just spent $100 at woolworths, you’ve spent $500 on groceries this month”

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