CBA flexes its digital muscle

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CBA flexes its digital muscle
Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn

Uses data recipient accreditation and investments to drive first-mover advantage.

CBA said it is the first major bank to allow customers to view account information from other banks in a single app.

The bank yesterday launched a pilot whereby customers can view account balances from other financial institutions via the CommBank app, and makes use of CBA's accreditation as a data recipient under the consumer data right (CDR).

“We think the integration of the complete financial picture is going to create a very differentiated experience for our customers,” chief executive Matt Comyn said.

Amber stake

At the same launch event, Comyn announced CBA has acquired a 25 percent ownership in energy retailer Amber.

Through a subscription of $15 per month, CBA customers will soon be able to access cheaper real-time wholesale energy prices as they become available on energy grids.

As the CDR begins to expand into the energy sector, Amber’s technology will be able to deliver insights to consumers when looking for energy deals.

Founded in 2017, Amber aims to shift customer preference towards 100 percent renewable energy.

“Our partnership with Amber will help to differentiate our home buying proposition, with Amber providing direct access to wholesale prices and bringing additional discounts for CBA customers,” Comyn said.

“Purchasing a home is a time when customers look for ways to save money, and electricity is a large expense in a household budget.”

Little Birdie

CBA also took a 23 percent stake in e-commerce fintech Little Birdie, which the bank views as a counterpart to its own buy now pay later (BNPL) offering.

On Wednesday, the bank announced a $30 million investment in the AI-driven start up, which will allow customers to search, track and compare selected shopping products.

CBA said Little Birdie will act as “the second half” of the bank's BNPL offering announced earlier this year.

The bank revealed its BNPL offering will be called StepPay and is set for release mid-2021.

StepPay will complement CBA’s partnership with Swedish BNPL company, Klarna as Comyn said the bank “also wanted to have a direct offering” in the BNPL space and take “advantage of some the preference of customers to pay in instalments.”

Comyn said Klarna “is very comfortable with [CBA] pursuing some of that experimentation”.

Comyn added it was “critical” for CBA to “play a leadership role in delivering the best overall digital experience on a day-to-day basis.”

Comyn also noted CBA’s partnerships with Whitecoat and Quantium iQ as strategic investments it has been making over the past few months.

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