Social spending: Meet Albert, Leo, Pi & Kaching

Look what the Commonwealth Bank has been doing to make spending our money a social experience. Social spending is on its way.

Commbank Kaching

Reach for your phone first

Can smartphones replace wallets? the Commonwealth Bank certainly hopes so. Their latest development for smart-phones, Kaching, provides much more than a standard banking app. As well as all the usual functions like making payments and checking balances, this app allows you to connect and pay friends via social services like Facebook.

Kaching also allows you to shop without cash or cards wherever Mastercard PayPass is accepted, you can pay for something by scanning your smart-phone instead of your bank card. You can even instantly transfer money by simply bumping your mate. There is a maximum payment limit of $500 and you will be able to view your last 20 transactions. A great feature of this app is the 'quick balance check' where users can check a nominated account's balance by swiping down on the Kaching logo before logging in.

Commbank Albert

On the other side of the coin to Kaching is Albert. Albert is a Commonwealth Bank tablet device that runs the on the operating system, Pi. if Kaching is all about the consumer, then Albert is aimed towards the business owner.

To see how Albert and Pi work, let's have a look at the example of a cafe owner provided in the promotional video. The cafe owner walks from table to table with Albert, the physical device, tending to his customers needs. The software that Albert runs, Pi, enables the cafe owner and his customers to do all sorts of 'technological wiz-bang' things through a series of applications developed for the platform. There are ten apps for Albert already. The software lets people split the bill at a restaurant and keep track of loyalty rewards, but there's no telling what's to come in the future as the software is open for developers and customers alike to personalise their point of sale experience with their own app.

The customers take Albert off the cafe owner and swipe their card through a reader at the base of the machine. The device is also fully functional with Commbank's Kaching, and near-field-technology like paywave.

Commbank Leo

But wait there's more.

For business owners who don't buy in to the whole tablet thing, there's Leo.

Leo is what you get when you take your iPhone and put it in a special case. This special iPhone case lets your smart-phone run the applications that were specifically developed for Pi. This presents an alternative for merchants who don't want to bring Albert into their business, but want to offer their customers, who bank with Commonwealth, something a little different at the point of sale.

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