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Kaching - Has the customer service penny finally dropped?

The advent of the smartphone has brought a new level of convenience to everyday life, enabling us to take our email, daily planners, bank accounts and entertainment with us wherever we go.  This year, the Commonwealth Bank is planning to take this principle to the next level with their new App for iPhone 4/4s – Kaching.

Although only announced in October, Commbank's Kaching is now available for free download and uses a specialised case called the iCarte for the iPhone, with Android versions currently in development, In order to facilitate 99% of the services one would normally only have access to by actually visiting a bank branch in person.  It will also allow those with Kaching enabled phones to use P2P (Peer to peer) payments, that is seamless payments to mobile or email contacts and even Facebook friends.  On top of this, adopters of this new technology will be able to:

  • Check the balances of your accounts
  • View your transaction history
  • Transfer money between your accounts
  • Make payments to people using their BSB and account number
  • Pay bills using BPAY®
  • Make PayPass payments under $100
  • Find the nearest branch or ATM

Applications like this often come with a raft of fabulous benefits and it's great to see one of the big banks – a traditionally very static business model – embracing changing times and new preferred methods of engaging its customers.  Big banks have never stood out from the crowd in terms of fabulous customer service, and although one has to wonder if this is a way of skirting around the issue by enabling the customer to help themselves rather than fixing the problem, do we really mind?

Commbank will no doubt save huge amounts of money on staffing costs and the upkeep of its branches with more users preferring the convenience of the new application, this is no doubt a driving force behind its creation.  It would be hoped that those who choose to do their banking using the traditional methods do not suffer from a decline in traditional customer service as a consequence and security or good IT support is not compromised to promote the applications new features.  There is a fine balance between security and convenience; can this technology be exploited easily? Only time will tell - ANZ just found out the hard way that no matter how much you pride yourself on security, some things will always fall through the cracks.

Commbank have stated that the iCarte case will eventually be phased out, with the technology being included in the design for the next iPhone models internally.  As a frequent user of internet banking via my phone on today's system, I couldn't be more excited about the prospect of more services finding a home on mobile technology now that Commbank has made the initial leap.  Commbank have alleviated my few concerns by offering a 100% anti-fraud guarantee, but as for most of you out there, I'm sure you share my sentiment that if it's good enough for Apple to put their iPhone brand to – it's good enough for me.