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May 27, 2021

CBA ups digital banking proposition, investing $50m in start-ups

By Evie Rusman

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has today announced a series of strategic partnerships to further its digital banking proposition.

The partnerships announced include minority investments of $50m, resulting in a 23% shareholding in online shopping start-up Little Birdie, and a 25% share-holding in Amber, which provides subscription-based access to wholesale electricity prices.

CBA also launched a pilot under the new Consumer Data Right (CDR), allowing customers to view account balances from other eligible financial institutions in the CommBank app.

Matt Comyn, CBA CEO, said: “The shift to digital banking is accelerating and we are investing to remain at the forefront of innovation. We aim to be the most trusted partner at the centre of our customers’ financial lives by saving them money, giving them more control over their finances, and by making banking simpler and easier.

“We are integrating new services into our platform to customise and personalise the digital experience in ways that will increase engagement and bring greater value to our customers.”

Comyn said that Little Birdie will bring customers the best shopping deals from across the internet. In addition, he said that Amber will help to differentiate the bank’s home buying proposition by offering customers access to wholesale prices and additional discounts.

Consumer data 

CBA has also highlighted the importance of consumer data – its CDR pilot will soon be available to all CBA customers, allowing them to see their account balances from other eligible financial institutions directly in the CommBank app.

Comyn added: “CBA’s technology enables us to redefine what customers can expect from a bank, moving beyond customer service to delivering deeper, trusted relationships, a better digital experience and better deals on everything from conveyancing when buying a home, to paying for utilities or shopping for homewares.

“We will continue to pursue a strategy of providing a differentiated banking experience for retail and business customers, and leveraging our technology assets to build distinct propositions to better serve our customers.”

The announcement comes after CBA launched its own BNPL service in March, directly competing with the likes of Afterpay and Klarna. CBA’s feature allows customers to split purchases into four, fortnightly instalments for transactions between $100 and $1,000.

It also follows a Worldpay report showing that BNPL is expected to double its market share to account for 4.2% of all e-commerce transactions globally by 2024.


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