Australia's biggest bank just launched a big play for the future of payments -- and it's all open-source

CommBank MD payments Gary Roach.

The Commonwealth Bank has unveiled its payments platform, Albert, a new point-of-sale tablet which it hopes will transform the payments space.

Launching the system at its Innovation Lab in Sydney today, Gary Roach, CBA’s managing director payments and cash management services said operating on an open-source platform transferred development to those using the tech.

“The potential is unleashed by people’s imagination,” he said. “It keeps the bank at the forefront of Australia’s payments industry.

“I’m looking for the developers and the businesses to tell us what to do with it.”

The payments sector has received a technological overhaul driven by mobile saturation and the spread of NFC and iBeacon technology, and with some of the world’s largest companies launching payments platforms, including Apple with its ApplePay platform.

“The payments landscape is rapidly evolving as Australians embrace new technology and there is a growing need for a more powerful, open platform which can adapt to changing customer needs, and provide real-time analytics and business insights,” he said.

“Albert has the potential to dramatically shift the way businesses take payments, offering merchants the ability to completely customise the customer experience from start to finish.”

Roach said developing the technology with German banking tech giant Wincor Nixdorf has taken longer then the companies first expected but he hopes the final product is also more powerful and capable as well.

He said it has been a “complex” challenge to develop a platform which is open-sourced, powerful and secure.

He said it has been engineered to help businesses improve and tailor their customer offering and gain insights through a mobile, user-friendly, secure and customisable point-of-sale device.

Over the next couple of years, Roach said CommBank expects “tens of thousands” of the units to be deployed to Australian businesses.

Wincor will distribute the platform globally, something Roach said is “the start of a very exciting potential for that business.”

So far the platform includes options for merchants to email receipts and invoices, split bills up to 10 ways, open a customer account that can be paid later, record and track payments in real-time, as well as collecting business analytics and insights.

“Our significant investment in the development of Albert demonstrates how serious we are about being the first-in-market to deliver new technological innovations to our customers and completely change the point of sale experience,” Roach said.

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