Australia’s Commonwealth Bank has announced that customers will be able to make payments via their Garmin smartwatches, following the device’s launch in October.
CBA does not offer compatibility with Apple’s payment wallet, Apple Pay, instead opting for Garmin’s smartwatch payment which is available across Android and iOS phones.
Garmin’s smartwatches will start at A$299, which CBA states will allow its 4.4 million customers to access more payment methods, especially those who’ve taken to app-based banking.
Michael Baumann, CBA GM of Everyday Banking & Payments, states of the announcement:
“In June this year we saw weekly transactions across the CommBank app hit AU$6.1 billion so we know customers love using their phones to make payments and do their banking”.
CBA also states that Android Pay will be available with compatible Android devices “before the end of the year”.
Commonwealth Bank’s announcement comes ahead of recently released data by Juniper Research which flags Apple Pay as the most popular wallet option, predicted to hit 86 million users by the end of 2017.
By contrast, analysts state Apple Pay’s rollout across Australia has been somewhat stifled – ANZ is the only one of Australia’s four big banks to settle on Apple Pay.
CBA’s decision follows negotiations involving itself, NAB, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank which requested regulatory approval to collectively negotiate with third-party mobile providers surrounding conditions on best practice standards, competition and efficiency.
Through these negotiations, the banks wanted access to the NFC controller in iPhones – Apple does not allow other entities direct access to their technology.
The banks argued that NFC access would allow them to offer their own integrated digital wallets to Apple’s iPhone customers, though Apple sought to avoid this as it would be in direct competition with Apple Pay.
The ACCC handed down a determination denying the banks authorisation in March.
Interestingly, the banks formerly balked at settling upon payment alternatives (e.g. Android Pay), previously referring to them as “unrealistic in the Australian market”.