Big banks’ mobile payment joint venture bears first fruit

‘Beem It’ mobile payment app backed by CBA, NAB and Westpac

A joint venture backed by three of Australia’s big four banks has released its first app, with Beem It now available for iOS and Android devices.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac in October revealed that they would back Beem It, which the trio said would operate independently and seek to sign up additional partners as it developed cross-platform mobile payment services.

The launch of the joint venture came in the wake of the failure of the three banks, along with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, to receive Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) blessing to act as a cartel when negotiating with Apple over its Apple Pay platform.

More than 50 Australian financial institutions support Apple Pay. However, of the big four, only ANZ supports Apple’s digital wallet for iOS devices.

CBA, NAB, Westpac and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank lodged an application with the ACCC that would have allowed them to band together and negotiate with Apple over a number of issues relating to mobile payments.

A key goal of the banks was to force Apple to open up access to the iPhone’s Near Field Communications (NFC) antenna — which would allow the banks’ own iOS applications to support tap-and-go style payments over NFC.

Apple said in response that it would never open up NFC access.

Beem It allows instant payments between individuals signed up to the service. It can also be used to pay businesses that support Beem It and to split bills.

“We’re excited to bring instant payment technology to all Australians, ensuring that everyone can pay, request and split money via their smartphones, regardless of who they bank with,” Beem It CEO Mark Wood said in a statement.

“Beem It uses real-time banking technology to transfer funds between banks and ensure money doesn’t get in the way of great life moments.”

The service is offering $5 credit as a launch promotion. Beem It has a daily limit of $200 a day for sending money, and $10,000 for receiving money.

Earlier this year Australia’s New Payments Platform has its public launch.

The NPP facilitates real-time payments between banks, as well as additional services such as “data enriched” transactions and PayID, which allows payments to be sent using alternative identifiers instead of BSBs and account numbers.

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Tags appsWestpacbanksNational Australia Bank (NAB)mobile paymentsCommonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)Beem It

More about ANZAppleAustraliaAustralian Competition and Consumer CommissionCommonwealth BankCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaNABNational Australia BankNearNFCWestpac

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