blog Remember how in the middle of last week, the Commonwealth Bank announced a raft of measures to reform mobile access to its infrastructure, including cardless access to ATM machines? Well, it appears the competition was watching. Barely had CommBank gotten its announcement out of the door when Westpac followed. ZDNet tells us (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“The new “card-free cash solution” will allow customers to make up to three withdrawals per day from an ATM, up to the combined value of AU$1000 … With the new service, customers will have to dial Westpac’s call centre to obtain a unique six-digit code to make cardless withdrawals.”
To be honest, while it appears from a cursory glance as though Westpac is deploying the same solution as CommBank, in practice it appears as though the two services will be quite different. CommBank’s solution appears to be app-based, and it will be available shortly. Westpac’s solution requires you to call a call centre (WTF?) and has no specific timeframe.
I would characterise Westpac’s move as a surface-level ‘hotfix’ competitive attempt to head off CBA’s technical advantage, while I would characterise what CommBank is doing as something very different: A fundamental and long-term attempt to drastically reform the ATM access scene by gradually removing the location of security authentication from cumbersome and traditional plastic cards and placing it instead on our much more capable and ubiquitous smartphone devices. Westpac is trying to keep up with CommBank here, but is merely displaying just how far it is really behind the radical overhaul CommBank is driving in the mobile payments space as a whole. I’ll be writing more about this overall trend shortly in detail.