By Aimee Chanthadavong

Taking advantage of the growth of smartphone usage, Commonwealth Bank has unveiled a revised version of its iPhone banking application that will be available in coming months.

Commonwealth Bank’s new application called Kaching enables users to make 99 per cent of all basic transactions that can be made via the company’s online Netbank system. It enables real-time peer-to-peer payments using a phone’s contacts and email addresses as well as the user’s Facebook friend’s list. But users don’t have to be Commonwealth Bank customers to be receivers of payments either as the technology uses an external collection site.

Additionally, in a country’s first, users will be able to make contactless payments at any PayPass enabled terminal in any retail store using their phones. This is done using near field communication (NFC) contactless technology where the chip is integrated to the bank’s iCarte cover designed for the iPhone 4 and 4S.

David Lindberg, executive general manager of credit cards, payments & retail strategy at Commonwealth Bank, said that contactless payments is reaching a tipping point in Australia from both a consumer and merchant perspective.

“The mobile growth has trickled along and trickled and now we have seen an exponential growth rate now with transactions. We’re at a merchant tipping point and everyone is launching it. People are asking when will Coles and Woolworths cross that line and when that does happen we’ll truly be transacting all of our goods that we want to purchase using contactless technology,” he said.

According to the bank, for businesses, the contactless technology will reduce the risk of cash handling while improve efficiency of operations through the reduction of long queues. In August 2011, more than one million ‘tap & go’ transactions were made. There are now over seven million MasterCard PayPass enabled cards in the country and over 42,000 merchant terminals where MasterCard PayPass can be used to pay.

The app will only be available to iPhone 4/4S but the company said that an Android version is in development.