CBA releases slew of updates as part of ‘Reimagined Banking’ strategy

CommBank app updates

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has announced a number of updates, including the launch of a new rental payments solution and AgTech data-sharing collaboration, and new performance figures around its Reimagined Banking strategy.

Among the new releases, CBA has announced the forthcoming rollout of a Smart Real Estate Payments system. The new system is designed to streamline, automate, protect and effectively consolidate the payments process between rental tenants and real estate managers.

Currently in pilot, Smart Real Estate Payments promises to reduce the administrative burden and improve the customer experience for collecting and reconciling rental payments.

“Our solution will accept all payment types and reduce the cost of taking payments while employing our leading security features and privacy protection for both renters and agents,” CBA Group’s executive of business banking Mike Vacy-Lyle said.

CBA said the system will be deployed in early 2024.

Also on the business banking innovation end, CBA has announced a new collaboration with Pairtree Intelligence, which, according to Vacy-Lyle, would help the bank “reimagine the products and services we provide” for the AgTech sector, by tapping into Pairtree’s extensive data collected from farms agricultural areas and farms.

Vacy-Lyle said the data will deliver improvements to the bank’s lending processes and risk decisioning as well as provide greater support to deliver on net-zero targets.

Pairtree Intelligence provides integrations with more than 100 top AgTech companies, capturing and sharing a range of data concerning, for instance, weather patterns, rainfall, soil moisture, crop health, cattle tracking, and soil carbon.

Pairtree combines data from previously incompatible digital sources to provide reporting and insights to agribusinesses, government and researchers.

Vacy-Lyle said the collaboration “will support deeper customer relationships and inform our investments in better customer experiences”.

Noting CBA’s new business banking innovations, he said: “Just as we have done for our customers in healthcare, hospitality and trades, we are building tailored payments and business management solutions for our customers in the agricultural and real estate sectors.”

Pairtree was also announced as the winner of the 2023 Xccelerate startup program, which is run through CBA’s venture-scaling arm, x15ventures.

Meanwhile, beyond the ‘Reimagined’ strategy developments, CBA has also partnered with payment orchestration platform Paydock to deploy a “first of its kind” merchant payments system.

Known as ‘PowerBoard’, the rollout enables, through a single API integration, the bank to deliver a dynamic payments experience for its merchant customers, which can be done without the need to overhaul merchants’ existing infrastructure.

CBA business customers can now effectively “plug in” to the payments orchestration platform and deploy the e-commerce offering of their choice, which includes support for five categories of payment: traditional card payments, digital wallets, Buy Now Pay Later payment methods, EFTPOS and PayTo, and digital gift cards. It also includes support for web integration.

“PowerBoard makes it easier for CBA to seamlessly deploy the latest payment method, type, service provider or processor to merchants to offer greater choice and flexibility to consumers, while also achieving bank-grade security requirements.”

“Through a simple interface, merchants can easily add on other integrations, such as enhanced security tools to detect and prevent fraud, to customise the payments experience they want to deliver to customers.”

CBA’s general manager of merchant solutions Karen Last said: “Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, looking for added value in their purchases and being able to choose their preferred payment methods online, whether that’s through traditional credit card payments, local account-to-account payment schemes, digital wallets or Buy Now Pay Later.

“PowerBoard makes it significantly easier for Australian merchants to offer choice to customers and manage their payments ecosystems, without all the costly integrations.”

CBA performance highlights

Around six months after the launch (in May this year) of Version 5 of the CommBank app, CBA has reported a notable increase in usage figures.

More than 300,000 additional customers have started using the app, according to CBA, taking total number of unique users from 7.8 million (in June 2023) to 8.1 million (in October 2023).

Daily log-ins to the app have increased to more than 11 million per day, equating to four billion log-ins per year – up 33 per cent, or one billion, from the total number of log-ins recorded over the prior year.

CBA has also reported a 23 per cent increase, year-on-year, in app-initiated transactions, processing 3,500 transactions per second at peak times.

Customers are also engaging with the app’s money management features more than three million times each month.

Following the introduction of a new profile-switching capability as part of the V5 upgrades, which enables users to switch between their retail and business accounts, CBA reports that its business customers who use the feature now spend 20 per cent more time on the app.

With direct access to its share-trading platform, CommSec, now available through the app, CBA revealed that almost a quarter of all new CommSec accounts are opened via the app.

Based on these figures, the bank has said that it will scale its technology capabilities to meet customer demand and support a new level of personalisation.

CommBank’s rewards and discounts offer program, Yello, which was launched mid-last year, has now also been extended to CBA’s eight million app-using customers. The bank claims it is “one of Australia’s largest customer recognition programs”.

According to CBA, the AI-backed rewards program, which connects customers with personalised and exclusive deals offered by retail brands, gives back approximately $400 million in value to customers each year.

CBA further boasted of its significant developments in artificial intelligence (AI) over the last year, including the implementation of more than 50 different AI use cases, around 50,000 lines of AI-generated code put into production, as well as its AI-powered app tiles which have delivered 50 per cent higher engagement versus non-AI ones.

The Aussie big four was acknowledged for its rapid developments in AI, with CommBank debuting at number one in the Evident global AI rankings for Asia Pacific and number six globally – the only Australian bank to rank in the top 30.