There’s a brand new payment app on the horizon for Australians and the big news isn’t that it’s free, but that it has partnered with three of the country’s largest banks.
Beem will allow users to make instant payments between people or small businesses via their smartphones in a bid to become a cross-industry ‘digital wallet’ for modern consumers. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are all on board and will see the mobile app’s rollout by the year’s end.
What does this mean for digital savvy spenders? Easy bill splitting at restaurants or quick and efficient payments for your delivery guy.
What makes Beem more appealing than any of its competition is the fact that it’s free to use by any iPhone or Android user regardless of their bank. This could spell bad news for Apple’s Apple Pay service which has thus far failed to partner with any of the major banks in Australia since its arrival two years ago. But rather than trying to re-negotiate with the American tech giant, the CBA, NAB and Westpac have instead decided to build their own Apply Pay rival.
Beem will differentiate itself from Apple Pay by focusing more on person-to-person money transfers rather than contactless payments via merchant terminals where Apple Pay has been activated. This aggressive move by the three banks into instant payments is a clear reflection of the fast-paced consumer world of today. According to the trio, future mobile payment apps are also on the cards with further development earmarked for point of sales payments at retailers.
For now though, Beem will offer quick and easy payments which trumps the current system that requires up to three-days for funds to clear between different banks. On the business side, it can also help small operators like tradespeople with eftpos terminals to request payments on the spot as opposed to sending out invoices and waiting for the money to show up days later.
Given that this piece of mobile infrastructure will cost the banks $1 billion, it should be interesting to see how it fairs in the field latest this year. We’ll keep you guys posted on any developments.