The Commonwealth Bank of Australia recently made headlines with its launch of Kaching. Kaching combines peer-to-peer payments via the phone’s contacts and email addresses, and in a world-first; social payments via a user’s Facebook friends along with NFC contactless technology. While the app is initially only available for the iPhone (and requires an NFC enabled case as the iPhone 4S still features no NFC support), the project undoubtedly oozes ambition.
Over at Australian competitor St George Bank, executives told The Australian newspaper that customers using mobile devices for financial transactions already equal the activity level of 112 physical branches.
These examples highlight once again how much of a driving force the banks are for mobile commerce in Australia. In contrast to countries like Austria, Qatar or Malaysia, where telecommunications operators have taken on a pioneering role, banks have been setting the scene down under for a number of years now.
A recent SAP-Sybase 365 poll among banking and finance professionals in Australia showed more than half (54%) of respondents believe mobile payment services will be solely run by the banks.
The survey also indicated that Google’s push into the mobile payments space with NFC support is seen as the biggest competitive threat to the banks’ dominance in the market (28%), followed by over the top payments providers such as PayPal (20%) and iTunes’ proprietary music and apps payment service (16%). Some 12% view credit card schemes as a competitive threat, and only 2% see mobile operators playing a leading role in this market.