CBA unveils major app refresh

CBA, app, upgrade, 5.0

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has announced it will deliver a substantial upgrade to its award-winning CommBank app for both personal and business users, including integration of online share-trading and investment platform CommSec.

The new app, slated for release next month, will feature an individually tailored home screen, a newly uplifted search function and, upon login, a range of personalised services and product information – with CBA boasting a “complete reimagining of the digital experience”.

“The new and simpler navigation features will make it easier to make transactions, book appointments, find and access services and utilise money management tools,” CBA said in a media release.

Speaking with FST Media, Meg Bonighton, CBA’s digital and customer chief, said the design of the app was based on feedback from CBA customers, whom she said were calling for services “that were more tailored to their personal circumstances”.

“That’s why we’ve introduced personalised and dynamic navigation, meaning that, when I log into my app, it will look different to someone else’s app.”

She added: “In Version 5.0, we’ve taken the next step in personalisation and intuitive navigation.

“The content that will come forward [within the app] will be different for each user and will be much more relevant to them.”

The upgrade also features a “huge uplift” in the app’s search function, Bonighton said. “This will allow users to type in a topic that will then bring back any particular related transactions through the users’ accounts.”

This search function, she said, “will bring the user back tools, features, products and services – literally anything in the app that relates to that topic”.

“It means the extensive range of value-adding tools and features we’ve built into the app over the past number of years will never be more than a few clicks away from our 7.7 million CommBank app users.”

Leveraging CBA’s predictive and AI-backed Customer Engagement Engine (CEE), Version 5.0 of the app promises “individually tailored content” and a “significantly enhanced search functionality”.

Dr Andrew McMullan, CBA’s chief data and analytics officer, said the CEE, first deployed in 2018, has been “reinvented… to support the new version of the CommBank app”, adding that a new generative AI capability will “ensure that customers have contextual experiences for them”.

“Given the level of personalisation we are striving to deliver in app 5.0, the customer engagement engine is now working harder than ever before, making 53 million decisions a day – 150 per cent more than it was a year ago, and five times up from 2018.”

He added: “Our customer engagement engine has around 1,000 machine learnings models, analysing around 157 billion data points.”

CBA chief executive Matt Comyn added that by “utilising global leading artificial intelligence”, the bank is now able to “better understand the needs of [its] 8.3 million digitally active customers, delivering them more tailored and relevant services and offering more choices and highly differentiated benefits than ever before”.

CBA business customers, numbering around 800,000 active app users, are also set to get a significant upgrade within the app, enabling them to “seamlessly toggle” between their business and personal accounts.

“The challenges of account switching [have] been one of the main friction points for business customers,” CBA said.

“This change allows customers to better manage their personal and business lives.”

Through a new CommSec integration, customers will now also be able to buy, sell and hold Australian shares and exchange traded funds within the new app. The option will be available to both existing CommSec customers and CBA retail customers.

Comyn said the CommSec integration was a “distinct proposition… not offered by any other bank in Australia.”

CBA said it had strong rationale for integrating CommSec into its retail banking app, with around one in five of its customers already registered with a CommSec account. Additionally, CBA said, around 45 per cent its customers said they would welcome an opportunity to invest in the stock market through their banking app.

“[Customers] have told us they want to be able to manage all of their financial needs and interests from the one location,” Bonighton said.

“That’s why we’ve integrated CommSec share investing into the app, putting the ASX at the fingertips of our 7.7 million app users” – itself, a 13 per cent year-on-year uptick in the app’s overall active userbase, with customers, on average, logging in 36 times a month, representing a 20 per cent increase on 2020 figures.

“Our ambition is not just delivering a superior digital banking experience. It’s about delivering a truly superior digital experience. CBA has pursued this ambition for more than a decade and the app we have built is industry leading,” Bonighton said.

CommBank, which began life as the ‘Kaching’ app back in 2011, is today among the Australia’s most decorated banking apps.

Last year, and for a sixth consecutive year, CommBank was ranked as Australia’s number one mobile banking app in Forrester’s Digital Experience Review (which rates the apps of Australia’s big four banks and Suncorp), with the tech research house praising the app’s “rich… functionality”, “easy, seamless, and informative mobile banking experience”, and “best-in-class money management features”.