The Commonwealth Bank Has Made Its Own Point-Of-Sale Tablet Called Albert

Meet Albert. Albert is the new point-of-sale transaction tablet from the Commonwealth Bank. Albert likes Pi. Pi is the software platform that powers Albert so that he can help merchants offer custom-built apps like loyalty programs, bill splitters and merchandise trackers to their customers. Confused yet?

We wouldn't blame you if you were. This thing is quirky.

CommBank is calling it an omnicommerce device, whatever that means. It's essentially a 7-inch tablet, based on Android and built by the Commonwealth Bank complete with an EMV card reader, NFC reader and a camera for merchants to help them do their business better.

Pi -- that's the operating system -- is an open platform, and anyone can contribute an app. New apps can be downloaded from the Commonwealth AppBank.

According to the demo video we've been given, Albert -- the tablet -- can live in a cafe and the owner can take it to a table to help a group of friends split a bill and then pay at the table using their traditional cards or their Kaching NFC devices.

Someone could walk into a clothes shop and have a coupon pushed to their device via Albert's NFC that would give them a special offer in the store.

Don't fancy having a bespoke payments and customer loyalty tablet in your business? That's cool, I wouldn't either. That's why the CBA has outed CommBank Leo.

CommBank Leo is a case for merchants that wraps around an iPod Touch, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S device to turn it into a merchant terminal. It pulls the apps from AppBank, because it too is powered by Pi.

There's no pricing just yet, we're still chasing it.

Would you be impressed by a Leo or an Albert in a restaurant or clothes shop?

Image: Commonwealth Bank



    To answer your question. No

      This section clearly says "DISCUSS".
      So please, do tell me why.

    If you google Comm bank pi it takes you to an old commbank site givign info about accounts for teens....ok?

    Here is the actual link if you want to learn more or register to be a dev.

    hmm...I think that this might be a good step in the right direction for retailers. Having previously worked in that industry about 8 years ago there were some people already trying to do this. NCR was a big player in this area back then using palm pilots and custom o/s, software, and hardware (for barcode scanners, etc.). Like with most things the 1st generation will be quiet average and have its problems, but this could be an overall cost saver for business.

    I'm not so interested in Pi, but Leo could be genuinely useful. I work with an NGO that needs to take payments from people who participate in our activities - previously we've been limited by our small scale to bank transfers and cheques. Things like Square, and PayPal's copy of it already exist, but if Leo is affordable then the prestige and reputation of a Big4 bank might tip the balance in favour of us using it. Customers tend to be put off by entering their pin into somebody's phone, but Commbank's reputation should assuage that fear.

      Unlike paypal and square this offering is PCI compliance for payment transactions - giving retailers and customers - added protection unlike other 'card not present' offerings

    I wouldn't use this if my life depended on it actually .... WAY to many open fingers in the pie.. or would that be Pi... either way.. get away from me and my bank accounts...

      Please learn to use full stops.

        Thank you. But this is a comment, not a sentence.

        full stop

        LlamaWhip what are you talking about? Billy the Gates clearly used 14 full stops. Ok, I know what you're going to say - "But Tony, 9 of those full stops got converted to 3 ellipsises", to which I would respond "The plural of ellipsis is ellipses, and that would still leave 5 full stops remaining".

    The split bill would help immensely (hate being the one to end up with all the loose change).

      Loose change = tip.

        Plenty of charity opportunities for loose change. Give it to the next charity tin/person you see

          Loose change feeds a coffee addiction.

            Llama is clearly a cheap-ass

    I see this as a positive step towards something that all banks use to replace EFT. Having a 7 inch (if it's that size) touch screen might be to big so they might have to start reducing it to a 5 inch screen or lower. All the banks shoudl be working together on a standard for this thing as well.

    I hate to think how many of these will be stolen though but overall, I think it's a good thing.

      There are currently quite a few wireless EFTPOS terminal out there at the moment. But rarely do they get stolen. If someone steals one. The only thing they can do with it is pay the merchant back, or split to bill with his other robber friends.

        Are there any that integrate with an external eco system for apps (in this case the android app store or is it a cba walled garden store)?

    For almost 15 years ive been thinking how great it would be to have a terminal that you can use at a restaurant at the table to place/track/amend your order and pay for it.

    I am not overly concerned about credit card safety on such devices, because if i didn't authorize the transaction then ill get those charges removed (or am i being to naive that the banks will honor their commitment).

    Register your interest here. As a developer, Or a Business

    Really? NFC a discount code to a phone, then redeem it by.. QR code? I get that they want some interaction between merchant and customer for redemption, but QR codes? I like the rest of the idea, but I'm not sure about the security aspect. I'd need to be convinced that it's not possible to do something dumb like join it to an unsecured wi-fi network or something.

      It looked like more of an internal app example - the open app concept allows developers with merchants and customers determine what they want the app to do

    Hrmm. Looking for fresh fingerprints on the touchscreen to try and guess the last user's PIN. That's secure.

      So say you have a pin, and you see that the last person has pressed 4 numbers, those numbers are 1234, you now have lets say 20 numbers to guess (probably more though). How likely are you to guess the correct 4 digit code out of three guesses?

      Is this some special one that has only ever been used by one customer, JB?

      Not if the pin box moves to a different part of the screen each time.

    If they can get actually Australia restaurants to let you split the bill it will a great day!

    also, how do you distinguish between the pinger prints of the last user and the user before them, and the user before them and the.........

    Not to mention the keypad is likely to be in a similar position for the waiter/res to enter details such as table number or ticket number.

    Another question, in a food service setting, what kind of sanitizer would be used to clean the screen that thousands of other people have touched?

      We use iPads, currently 70 in the field across Australia. Baby wipes. Sanitized. BAM. Non issue.

      I don't know, what kind of sanitizer do you spray on EFTPOS and ATMs now?

    When I am at a restaurant I want the wait staff to do all the work. That is why I went out to dinner. I think there are more opportunities in other industries with this. Also don't most restaurants have inventory systems already?

    I've seen another device like this in a drive through Bottleshop . POS terminal one side, EFTPOS terminal on the other. I think this is the website:

    Interesting concept. I'd like to see how it develops.
    However, just like a new operating system or NFC, it needs to be widely popular and common for it to really work (or be of benefit). Baby steps I guess.
    Also It requires people to have smart phones, online banking and in some cases NFC. Not everyone does. I guess it would be an addition to a business not a replacement for old systems.
    I know people who still pay their bills in cash at a post office... even though they do other online banking... explain that one!
    One another (although related) note, I wish restaurants would split bills... it's seriously not that hard, and most people don't carry around a register's worth of cash to make up the right amount.

    Splitting bills: a lot of restaurants will let you do it if you pay by two means (Eg. Cash + EFTPOS) because they can just put the cash through their system and the remainder will be displayed. Not splitting the bill, but paying by two different means.

    Also, when a restaurant refuses just tell them you have no other way of paying. Works every time.

    Nice idea and impressively looks better than it sounds, but I still get the feeling that this has fail all over it. The demand for it just isn't there. Sorry guys.

    Sounds like a desperate cash grab from a financial dinosaur terrified of the rise of paypal, amazon, google, etc in the payments industry. But, at the end of the day, its just another pinpad, really don't see what the fuss is about, esp when you consider the cost which I believe is around $900, three times what a normal payment device is. Plenty of similar devices out there which don't tie you to CBA.

      lol.Banks give their devices away fro free to customers because they make money from the transactions. There is no difference between free and free. The real cost difference is that you might have to pay an app, or pay developers to customize something to work with you inventory systems.

      im sure the buisness will still have a regular POS for non-cba customers, and i can hardly see how this is a money grab either, more like moving on with the times, keep up with current technology, it would also make your buisness appeal to your customers that you are interested in keeping the joint up to scratch in terms of new tech and making payment an easy process.
      im actually really keen to try one of these out if it becomes mainstream enough

    Don't know what all the hoopla is about - this type of system is already out there today. I used it at Aldi on the weekend called a Duo which looks about half the size of the Albert one. The guy scanned my stuff, flipped the thing over and I paid with my chip card and pin number. My receipt says Westpac so I guess they got there before Commbank did. From looking at the company website that makes it it looks like Commbank supports it already as well as Westpac, the ANZ and St George.

    Pondering if it would allow me to develop a Bitcoin application? but I guess they won't allow free and open development of alternative payment methods

    Can anyone tell me how to connect this to a usb barcode scanner? Or additional equipment is needed? Using a webcam as barcode scanner sounds silly. Is it a POS or just a card reader?

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