General manager of merchant solutions Dominic White said yesterday's announcement of the Bank's entry into the e-commerce market is as much about strengthening relationships with customers as ensuring greater security over online transaction processing.
CBA's eVolve iShop e-commerce platform is a joint development between CBA and MasterCard, and was coded by Melbourne-based Premier Technologies in partnership with the two firms.
It consists of a credit card payment gateway and e-commerce shopfront software.
Merchants and retailers often build e-commerce sites using shopping cart software from a web host that then connects to a separate secure payment gateway.
But a spate of recent breaches - the most recent being Bottle Domains in Australia - is prompting providers to look at ways of tightening the security of these types of systems.
CBA is hoping that one way to do this is to take a greater level of control over the payment process -managing transaction processing end-to-end, rather than just one part of it.
"Whenever a merchant sees a credit card number or has stores it, there's quite a big onus on them to comply with the PCI DSS standard," White said.
"Because the eVolve platform is hosted by us, the merchant never sees the card data and has no problem complying the standard.
"We see millions of credit card numbers - both our own and any that goes through the acquiring network - and comply with PCI DSS. Because we're already compliant, we expect it will reduce the risk of small business customers being hit by attacks [and our exposure to the results]."
White said CBA is hoping to have "a few thousand" customers using eVolve iShop within the first year.
The iShop costs $299 in set-up fees and then $65 per month. The upfront set-up cost is waived for CBA business customers, and White said the monthly fees were also reduced "depending on the relationship you have with us."
Merchant service fees apply but these also vary business-to-business, he said.
Without the iShop software, the eVolve gateway has an upfront $79 fee (also waived for customers) and then a fee per transaction.
"We've been very keen to put in incentives to help business customers of the bank and to encourage relationships [with us]," White said.
"A key part of what we're doing is trying to build on the overall relationship we have with customers. We want to be able to make things as easy as we can for our business customers and felt iShop was a service we can add and was worth investing in.
"It is now a lot simpler to put an e-commerce site online. A lot of customers weren't sure where to start and if they needed to bring in a developer to stitch the system together the costs became quite high.
"iShop gives them an opportunity to get into the market at a relatively low cost and see how it goes."
CBA has approximately 150,000 merchant business customers across Australia.