CBA to launch Android Pay by end of year

Still no word on Apple Pay following ACCC knock-back

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) will offer customers Android Pay by the end of the year, it announced today.

Rival ANZ bank was the first of the Big Four banks to offer Android Pay in July last year. Westpac followed in December. In June this year, The Australian reported NAB’s introduction of Android Pay was “looming”.

A number of smaller banks have offered the service for some time.

CBA currently only offers tap and pay Android phone payments through its own digital wallet app. The app – which allows users to ‘wake and tap’, ‘unlock and tap’ or open the app and tap – has 4.4 million users, CBA said.

The Android Pay offering “complements” the bank’s own app, CBA added.

Core issue

The bank made no mention of Apple Pay in today’s announcement.

At present, the bank does not support Apple Pay, although iPhone users can download the CBA app and make payments of less than $100 by sticking a $2.99 ‘PayTag’ to the back of their device.

“For customers who use an iOS device, CommBank has offered contactless payments via an optional PayTag sticker for more than three years,” the bank said.

CBA, along with Westpac, NAB, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank had applied to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to act as a cartel in negotiations with Apple over Apple Pay.

The banks said that there were three key issues they wanted to bargain with Apple over: the right to pass on Apple Pay fees to consumers, security standards, and access to the Near Field Communication (NFC) radio of the iPhone. The ACCC formally knocked back the application in March.

The lack of Apple Pay support following the ruling is a point of frustration on CBA's community forums.

ANZ has offered Apple Pay since April last year, along with a number of smaller banks.

CBA added its app would be compatible with Garmin's new smartwatch which is expected to hit the local market in early October.

“In June this year we saw weekly transactions across the CommBank app hit $6.1 billion so we know customers love using their phones to make payments and do their banking. Since 2013 our customers have been able to use their smartphones to make payments. By offering customers the ability to pay with Android Pay and with their Garmin smartwatches we are combining choice and convenience," said Michael Baumann, CBA general manager everyday banking and payments.

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