CommBank previews “social banking,” changing friendships in one transaction

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank seems to be among the most proactive financial establishments in our country, making its services more up to date and taking advantage of modern technology. Now, the CBA is turning to social networking, allowing you to transfer money to friends from within Facebook.

Branded under Commonwealth’s “Kaching” platform, Australian users of Facebook with accounts at CBA will gain access to an online version of their finances without having to leave the confines of the giant social networking website. As it stands, Facebook currently has roughly 12 million users, many of which login at least once a day to check up on the activity of their friends and family, looking at photos, news, and seeing which events and parties they want to go to.

“Social banking is posed to rise with the introduction of the CommBank Kaching Facebook app, as more customers transact with their friends and relatives on Australia’s largest social platform,” said Andy Lark, CBA’s Chief Marketing and Online Officer.

It’s not just about checking your balance or paying a bill, with the service also allowing you to send money to a friend, or even ask them for some cash.

If you’re thinking of throwing a party but need your friends to pitch in, you can send them a message and ask them to give generously, or they can shoot you some cash from their own account without you even asking.

Security is obviously an important issue here, and Facebook sees absolutely none of the information you’re sending through, CBA’s James Kirby told us this week.

“Your communications in here are directly with CommBank,” said Mr. Kirby. “We’re not going through Facebook servers or infrastructure.”

If you’re at all worried about scammers, Commonwealth told us that you can only send requests for payment to people on your friend list, stopping the idea of scams and cons on this platform dead in their tracks.

Commonwealth account holders should begin to see this system go live in early 2013, when Kaching comes to Facebook and changes the way you pester your friends about that drink they said they’d pay you back for.

Meanwhile, the Kaching app that came out for iPhone in 2011 is also seeing a revised and updated release for Android, sporting a fresh look and feel that gels better with the Android way of doing things, especially since version 4.0 of Google’s operating system rocked up in devices at the beginning of the year.

The app should be coming online in mid-December, and features improvements to performance and usability, but still misses out on the Near-Field Communication based transactions that users of the iPhone iCarte case can perform. Representatives for CBA has said it’s coming, however, with a release of the bump technology currently in use for iCarte coming soon for Android-based devices.