CBA deploys iOS, Android ATM access



news The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has taken a significant step in the gradual shift to allowing Australians to conduct all of their banking transactions via their mobile phones, announcing this morning that it would allow customers to withdraw money from ATM machines without their cards and only using iPhone and Android apps.

The new feature, dubbed ‘Cardless Cash’ will enable customers to withdraw up to $200 cash a day, without a card, at over 3,000 CommBank ATMs nationwide from May this year, representing the vast majority of CommBank ATMs. It functions through an update to the bank’s smartphone apps on the iPhone and Android platforms. ZDNet has also reported from a CBA event today that customers will also be able to authorise remote withdrawals by non-account holders via a mobile phone and PIN process, allowing family members emergency access to cash.

“Demand for contactless and mobile payments continues to rise; in a single week the new CommBank app now supports 9 million logons and executes over 2 million transactions,” said Lisa Frazier, Executive General Manager Digital Channels, Commonwealth Bank, in a statement.

“Following the introduction of Tap & Pay technology to Australian smartphones, we have now developed the next evolution of the mobile wallet. Cardless Cash provides a convenient and secure solution for customers to withdraw cash from Australia’s largest ATM network via their smartphone without needing an ATM card.”

“Cardless Cash not only gives our customers convenient access to cash when their card isn’t available, but also the ability to help out a family member or friend by sending cash to an ATM for collection in an emergency situation,” Frazier added.

Angus Sullivan, Executive General Manager Cards, Payments, Analytics & Retail Strategy at the bank added that Cardless Cash was another step towards providing Australians with a fully functioning mobile wallet. Customers see banks as the natural providers of their mobile wallet and we will continue to offer the latest solutions to enhance their day-to-day banking experience.”

The bank has simultaneously launched a number of other new services designed to make its customers’ lives easier, including ‘Lock and Limit’ — a service which allows CommBank customers additional control over their card security by enabling them to lock certain transaction types and unlock them only when required, as well as setting a limit per transaction; and a new small business app which allows small business owners to accept on the spot payments, create estimates and invoices instantly, and manage their cash flow and business operations from their mobile device.

And the Financial Review has reported that CBA is also set to unveil a new payments terminal known as ‘Emmy’ which allows small businesses to accept card payments through tap-and-go contactless payments, or with the encrypted chip plus PIN code. The device is slated to compete with US mobile payments company Square, which is reported to be planning to enter Australia shortly.

The CommBank Small Business app will be available as part of a Simple Merchant Plan on iPhone and Android devices from June this year. The Lock and Limit feature will be available in May this year.

“Mobility is not a trend; it is increasingly our way of life. Commonwealth Bank is launching three mobile banking innovations to provide the anytime, anywhere functionality our customers demand while also delivering unrivalled, real-time access and control over their finances,” said Michael Harte, Group Executive Enterprise Services and Chief Information Officer, Commonwealth Bank.

“Our customers demand more transparent, open, relevant and secure solutions, increasingly in real time, to help advise and support important decisions. These new mobile offerings will improve our customers’ banking experience by placing information-rich, value-added services and additional security at their fingertips at the time they need our help. The Commonwealth Bank is a leader in customer service and mobile banking; payments technology is just one way individuals and businesses get better value,” Harte added.

Wow. We are really seeing CommBank heavily innovating here. Accessing cash from ATMs without a card? Allowing people who aren’t even CommBank customers to access money from accounts they don’t own but are authorised to access, all through mobile phone security? Now we’re really talking some amazing stuff.

And it’s not just this area. Internet banking (where CommBank currently reigns supreme), hardware innovation in terminals, domination of the ‘tap and go’ chip payments systems, dedicated small business apps and more: CommBank is really pulling out in front here. I have personally played with all of Australia’s Internet banking and mobile payments platforms, and I have say, CommBank is really opening up a huge lead with its rivals.

But it’s doing more than that: It’s also changing societal expectations about what banking should be. I recently switched from St George to CommBank for all of my accounts, and I have to say, these days I get annoyed when other banks take a while to process payments. After all, CBA’s platform works on real-time — I get payments at any time during the day. Other banks only funnel them through after midnight, daily. I also get annoyed when I can’t tap and go with my credit card at a merchant, because they haven’t implemented CBA terminals.

Michael Harte and the rest of the CBA IT team are really showing right now that banks can be more than the big, monolithic, frustrating bureaucratic messes that they have been for so long: They can be agile, fast-moving IT development houses like Atlassian or Google, which meet your service needs at any time of the day or night. They can make banking easy and convenient. And, given the banking sector’s history, that is something truly remarkable indeed.

Image credit: megawatts86, Creative Commons


  1. NAB (and I believe some others, though I can’t confirm) also performs real-time transaction processing for payments/transfers and offers PayWave-enabled Visa credit and debit cards. I do like the ‘cardless cash’ concept for ATMs though, that one has the potential to really take off in the face of ATM skimming.

    Despite this, CBA won’t be seeing me in any of their branches any time soon, not after the way they treated me as a customer in the past.

    • I do not believe any other major bank is currently offering the kind of real-time processing CBA is, especially for inter-bank transfers. NAB in particular is still in the early stages of an Oracle-based core banking project specifically designed to enable this and other features.

      • One of the things I wish CBA would rip off from St George however, is the realtime email alerts.

        Swipe or insert your credit card, and a minute or two later you’ve already got an email alert detailing the transaction.

        It’s all well and good being able to log into CBA’s NetBank, but it’d be great if I could get those alerts emailed in realtime to me (over, say, a $50 threshold) rather than having to log in and look.

      • I stand corrected, NAB is doing same-day processing of inter-bank transactions (source: That said, I’ve done comparisons with work colleagues of the time it takes for salary deposits to be processed and we’ve failed to witness any significant difference in processing times between NAB and CBA; both seem to appear at roughly the same time. I believe the bank used by my employer is neither of these two.

        • I would be very surprised if NAB was up to speed with CBA at this point; the closest is supposed to be St George, which has a more advanced version of CSC’s Hogan, if I remember correctly. But since the Westpac acquisition they have appeared to invest very little in it.

  2. Internet banking (Netbanking) and ease of use is one of the reasons why I obligingly pay a monthly fee for my bank account and an annual fee for my CC.

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