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Commonwealth Bank's Kaching App Has No-Login Option, Simple Balance

By Jim Bruene on March 15, 2012 10:38 AM | Comments

imageThere are two problems with the current state of online/mobile login:

  • It's too hard for customers to log in to their own accounts, especially using mobile keyboards
  • Yet, it's too easy for crooks to log in to other people's accounts

Since the dawn of online banking, the industry has struggled to balance user experience with security. And tiny mobile keyboards make the login experience even more frustrating.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

A number of banks are using 4-digit passcodes making mobile login a breeze. But Commonwealth Bank (Australia) has gone one step further, with no-login pulldown access to account balances in its new Kaching (ka-ching) mobile app (note 2). 
(Update 16 Mar: New Zealand's Westpac also has a no-login mobile option called Cash Tank). 

obr_bestofwebCommonwealth calls the no-login option Simple Balance. With a quick swipe users pull down a read-only account balance (see screenshot below). The no-login option must be  enabled within the app before the first use. See it in action here (at the 29-second and 54-second marks).

We are awarding Simple Balance our second OBR Best of the Web award for the year (note 3). While it may not be as novel as City Bank's debit card on/off switch, it's likely to be used 100x more.

Bottom line: Requiring full username and password to see your account balance is antiquated, or at least it's rapidly headed that way. The four-digit PIN is a good first step. But ultimately, it needs to get even easier than that for low-risk activities (note 4).

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A single swipe on the top of the Kaching app allows users to download their account balance (click to enlarge, see note 2)

Pull down Simple Balance on Commonwealth Kaching

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Notes:
1. Many thanks to Australian reader Saif Hazarika, Innovation Manager at Australia Post, for clueing us in on the Kaching feature and creating the illustration above.
Facebook integration into Kaching's P2P payments area2. The Financial Brand published a good overview of Kaching several weeks ago.
3. Since 1997, our Online Banking Report has periodically given OBR Best of the Web awards to companies that pioneer new online or mobile banking features. It is not an endorsement of the company or product, just recognition for what we believe is an important industry development. If anyone knows of other financial institutions offering a similar feature, let us know and we'll update the post. Commonwealth Bank is is the 85th company to win the award and the second in 2012. Recent winners are profiled in the Netbanker archives.
4. USAA's "stay logged in" option is another promising approach, though not quite as user friendly as the Kaching swipe.
5. The Kaching app (inset, click to enlarge) includes integration to the user's Facebook friends to facilitate P2P payments. A cool feature that I will add to the 50 or so discussed in last month's Banking on Facebook report (OBR subscription).

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