Commonwealth Bank launches Australia’s first phone-based credit card

One of the world’s largest banks has unveiled a new way for you to pay, allowing you to throw on a case equipped with a chip and pay without taking a credit card from your wallet.

The solution dubbed “Kaching” is a new Apple iPhone app designed to work with a case equipped with the Near-Field Communication chip, a technology that transmits data wirelessly when it’s waved in the same vicinity of another NFC. With the

NFC technology on-board, Commonwealth Bank hopes to get Australians using their mobile phones as credit cards in the same way that the 7 million PayPass MasterCard credit cards are being used.

“The world of payments is about to change in a seriously material way,” said David Lindberg, Executive General Manager of Credit Cards, Payment, and Retail Strategy at the Commonwealth Bank. “Within two years, the way we bank and the way we pay will be entirely different from the way all of those things happen today.”

You can send money to friends, family, and anyone else using your contacts list from your phone or your Facebook friends list.

CommBank’s new banking solution isn’t totally reliant on the NFC chip, with the new app also allowing you to send money to friends over SMS, email, and even Facebook. CommBank customers will receive the money directly through the bank’s real-time network, while members of other banking organisations will receive instructions on how to transfer their money digitally.

“Most Australians do their banking online,” continued David, “[but] in the world of mobile payments, Australia will be the country that leads the world.”

With the new technology on-board, the app marks a first, with the CommBank helping Australians take charge of their banking using smartphone applications.

Interestingly, the announcement is one that was made only to Apple’s line of mobile phones, with the iPhone 4 and recently released iPhone 4S the first models that the card-less payment solution will support. An Android version is apparently in the works, but it will be a version of the app designed entirely for Android and not just a conversion.

Kaching will be available on the iOS App Store within the next few months, as will the iCarte NFC iPhone 4/4S cover.