CBA gets behind Kounta's virtual cash register
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CBA gets behind Kounta's virtual cash register

Commonwealth Bank has claimed a world first of payments, a cash register and stock management on one device by offering Aussie cloud-based cash register Kounta on its Albert mobile sales tablet.

"Having payments and point-of-sale on one device is, in fact, unique. If you jumped on a plane to New York and dined at its finest restaurant, you would not get this customer experience. Australians are enjoying a world first," said Claire Roberts, CBA's executive general manager local business banking.

After its launch almost four years ago, there are now 25,000 of the Commonwealth Bank's Albert POS devices being used.

After its launch almost four years ago, there are now 25,000 of the Commonwealth Bank's Albert POS devices being used.

Kounta is a fully online cash register and inventory management system. This allow businesses to use iPads or iPhones to take payments from customers in stores for goods. The system is connected with inventory and accounts to record the purchases for supply and accounting purposes.

A host of tech giants and local and international start-ups has been offering integrated mobile sales and payments software and hardware for several years now, but most piggyback on ubiquitous mobile phones and tablets, and require extra bulky hardware.

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Kounta has also integrated with accounting software MYOB, which took a minority stake in Kounta in 2014. Both systems can be used on any mobile device.

Payment in any form

But Albert can also take payment in any form and give printed receipts as well as split customer's bills. It is about the size of a standard iPad, but thicker, with an integrated stand.

Albert was launched in 2012 before many of the new entrants and CBA is unusual among banks for building its own hardware. So far there are 25,000 of the devices in circulation. There are about 800,000 POS terminals in total in Australia.

Square, founded by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, launched its payment device last week. It is the smallest on the market and the cheapest, costing only $19, plus 1.9 per cent for each transaction.

PayPal and local players like Mint, which is also partnered with MYOB, have much larger, more expensive terminals. But they also take contactless payments, as does Albert. Square doesn't because it would have made the device too big for its core sole trader customers.

The Albert device starts at $90 a month to rent for $6000 card transaction turnover, but next week the bank will offer a $60 rental for $3000 of card turnover a month. Kounta is free for a maximum of 10 transactions a day, then ranges from $50 a month on the basic plan for one device up to $150 a month for three devices.

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