Commonwealth Bank of Australia made a splash with a new mobile payment app it launched in late December, Kaching. It offered a pretty video on YouTube showing how the app works and capitalized on the interest it generated by announcing the app two months prior to release. The bank says more than 18,500 people pre-registered to download the app.

Kaching works with an iPhone 4 or 4S and an iCarte case containing a near-field communication chip. (The case costs about $50.) The app lets users make person-to-person payments to email addresses and cell phone numbers, payments to Facebook friends and contactless payments at terminals on MasterCard's PayPass network. The app only makes payments under $100.

The interface is faintly reminiscent of Google Wallet and it uses the same wallet metaphor. A very simple page offers five payment options: transfer funds between accounts; pay to other accounts, use Commonwealth's bill payment service, Bpay, make payments to friends' mobile phone numbers or email addresses, or pay a Facebook friend.

The app lets users access Kaching through their Commonwealth online banking account (called NetBank) client number and password. The software also provides access to checking and savings accounts as well as credit and debit cards.

The app offers a "100% security guarantee" as long as the Terms and Conditions are met.

The app also offers a few basic online banking features, such as checking account balances.

At press time, two days after the product launch, the product was too new to have serious user reviews. One person, identified as "Keentouse" had written in to the AppStore to say that their NetBank username and password didn't work.