The Commonwealth Bank is working to launch a Facebook app by year's end in response to increased consumer use of mobile devices and social media platforms.
Last week CommBank announced plans for a new personal banking app on Facebook, marking the first time a major bank has moved to allow customers to do their core banking transactions entirely within a social network.
"We as a society have migrated to Facebook…social banking is here," says Andy Lark, the bank's Chief Marketing and Online Officer.
CommBank last week gave a demonstration of the Facebook banking application that will allow customers to do all their banking transactions, including paying others and collecting money, without leaving the social network.
Users will be able to see statements, pay with Bpay and transfer money between accounts, with the social features of Facebook also allowing users to request payments from friends or groups.
David Lindberg, Executive General Manager of card payments and retail strategy, said CommBank had taken into consideration the lack of privacy and security of Facebook when designing of its banking application, which is currently in beta testing.
"We will simply not roll the Facebook application out until we have a 100 per cent Facebook security guarantee. We don’t underestimate the challenges of banking on Facebook, but it is about us building products which are more relevant to different sectors of the market."
A global study by MasterCard released last week found that Australians were ready and willing to embrace new payment technologies, scoring Australia 35.3 (out of 60) in mobile payment readiness, above the global average of 33.2. The study, which concentrated on mobile payments as it relates to the company's contactlless PayPass system, said Australia was "on track for a cashless future".
The Commonwealth Bank has already seen great mobile payment success with its Kaching app for iPhone, processing $1 billion in mobile transactions since its launch late last year.
Facebook has already become a hub for payments, with many users paying for items through apps and social games. Telsyte senior research manager Sam Yip sees the Commonwealth Bank’s Facebook app as the "next phase" of eCommerce on the social networking site.
Yip believes that buying products will no doubt follow, a notion supported by developer Tom Waddington who last week spotted hidden Facebook code referencing a "want" button and the term ‘socialcommerce’, suggesting actions that would allow users to share product purchases with their friends.
"The company that's able to show off a product, and then collect customer data associated with that and use it properly, will win in the long term,” Yip says.