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Boosting digital banking services down under

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has announced the appointment of two strategic partners to help deliver digital banking services to the Group’s 15 million business and retail customers. The partnerships coincide with the announcement of X15 Ventures’ fourth new venture, Backr.

CBA has committed US$10m to the most recent funds for both Square Peg and Zetta Venture Partners to support the sourcing, scaling and financing of local fintechs, as well as the development of emerging artificial intelligence (AI) businesses in Australia.

CBA’s X15 has also announced its fourth new venture, Backr, which offers a digital, task-based approach to starting a small business, guiding business owners through the process step-by-step, from registering their business name and ABN, to creating a business plan and using simple tools to get them trading quickly and with ease.

“Through Backr, we hope to help thousands of new digitally enabled small businesses get off the ground," said Matt Comyn, CEO of Commonwealth Bank. "This is now more important than ever given the need to drive the economic recovery. To support this initiative, CBA will deposit $500 into the account of any eligible business launched through Backr, until the end of 2020. We’re also delighted to welcome Square Peg and Zetta as strategic partners and look forward to working with them to bring new solutions to our customers, harnessing the latest technologies, artificial intelligence, and machine learning models.”

Square Peg is one of Australia’s leading venture capital funds, having backed a range of successful Australian ventures. They will partner with X15 on the sourcing, scaling and financing of Australian fintechs. Zetta Venture Partners is a US-based venture capital fund that invests purely in artificial intelligence companies.

CBA has also provided an update on its partnership with Klarna, one of the world’s biggest digital payments providers. Since its launch in January 2020, the Klarna App has been downloaded by more than 270,000 Australians and more than 80 merchants are now live on the platform. Global revenue for Klarna has grown to $750m for the first half of 2020, and Klarna has seen volume growth of up to 50% year on year during the coronavirus period.

Digital banking continues to grow

CBA has revealed its latest digital banking numbers which continue to grow. More than 6.1 million customers are now using the CommBank App, up 500,000 from 5.6 million in FY19. More than $1.2bn is now transacted through the App every day, while daily logins have surpassed 6.3 million. Combined with the Group’s online banking platform, NetBank, digital daily logins rose to a record 10.2 million at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our digital services have helped us to provide fast and effective financial support to our customers affected by the Coronavirus," Comyn said. "Since the start of the pandemic, we have connected with more than 7 million customers through the CommBank App and there has been more than 2 million unique views of our coronavirus support page. In just two weeks, we had messaged 2.6 million customers in App driving engagement with our new Money Plan feature, with 124,000 customers setting up a money plan to support themselves through the coronavirus pandemic.”

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