CommBank launches NFC-less Kaching for Android

Nearly a year since it launched on iOS, the Commonwealth Bank's Kaching banking app is now available for Android devices via Google's Play Store.

Nearly a year since it launched on iOS, the Commonwealth Bank's Kaching banking app is now available for Android devices via Google's Play Store, featuring most of the same functionality, minus the contactless payment element in the version designed for iPhone.

(Screenshot by CBSi)

The app gives the bank's Android-owning customers account-management and payment options from their handsets, including payments by email, SMS and Facebook. It doesn't support payments over NFC, though, with the bank saying that it is waiting on a release of code from Google before it can deploy the feature.

"Most Android devices coming into the market today have an NFC chip in them, some claim to have it activated, but they only have the radio portion of the chip activated; they don't have the secure element activated," said Andy Lark, chief marketing and online officer with the Commonwealth Bank.

"We need to get from Google, or the device manufacturer, the software code base to be able to do secure NFC transactions. No one has released those as of yet."

NFC payments are available for iPhone users, but require a CommBank-designed case with the NFC chip built in.

Also missing from the Android version of the Kaching app is a new feature for iPhone users, where payments are made by touching two phones together. With software licensed from US company Bump, this payment method is now enabled on iOS with the most recent software update. Like with NFC, CommBank said it is ready to deploy a similar service to Android phones, but it is waiting for Bump to finish beta testing the service for Google's platform.

The Kaching app can be downloaded now, though it's not available on all Android devices or for all versions of the OS. The bank believes that it should be available on most newer Android-powered handsets — up to as many as 80 per cent of the current range of devices.

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