The free app, called Beem, will enable instant payments for all Australians, including small businesses, regardless of who they bank with. In fact, users won’t even need to be customers of CBA, Westpac or NAB to utilize it, and can use their smartphones to do everything from splitting a bill to requesting a payment from someone who owes them money.
“Think about all the times you’ve gone out for dinner and split the bill – this app will make it easy for Australians to pay their family and friends instantly," said Antony Cahill, NAB's COO. "Or, when you go to the local market and need to pay the butcher – this means instant payment through your phone. This is the industry working together to deliver an innovative payments solution, no matter who you bank with."
Beem will work on both iOS and Android smartphones, and will give Australians a simpler way to pay and request payments for both consumers and small businesses. The hope is that it will become an industry-wide payment solution, and is open to interest from other banks, industry and retail players.
“Two thirds of small businesses say they are owed money for completed work, with around $7,300 owed to small traders," noted Matt Comyn, executive of retail banking services for Commonwealth.
Beem will give small businesses an easy, cost-effective way to collect payments instantly and on the go for their goods and services, without having to take the larger leap into using merchant credit facilities, or issuing invoices to be paid later.
Beem will benefit from bank-level security and encrypted user account information, with every transaction authenticated and subject to real-time fraud monitoring.
Commonwealth will conduct user testing of a Beem prototype, with the app available for download later this year to all bank customers and small businesses that hold a global scheme debit card issued by an Australian Authorized Deposit-Taking Institution (ADI).
Initially, Beem will have a sending limit of $200 a day ($6,000 per month), with a monthly receiving limit of $10,000 as an initial risk control measure.