Commonwealth Bank takes on cloud storage with new digital vault product

The Commonwealth Bank has entered the cloud computing market, announcing a new product for its online banking customers that will allow them to keep any type of file stored online in a type of digital storage locker.

The move comes as online storage options are becoming plentiful and cheaper for everyday users, including start-up favourite DropBox and Google’s Drive product.

But while the move comes as somewhat of a surprise, Telsyte research manager Foad Fadaghi says it is in line with the bank’s existing products.

“I think this is analogous to the safety deposit box, really, and it makes a lot of sense. I think for a banking organisation to introduce any kind of peripheral service that reduces the likelihood of customer churn, that’s going to benefit the organisation,” Fadaghi says.

Fadaghi also says Telsyte’s surveys have shown Australians trust banks more than internet companies such as Facebook, Google, or even PayPal.

Commonwealth Bank announced the new product yesterday, saying customers would receive unlimited storage capacity – unlike competitors such as DropBox and Google, which limit free storage to a few gigabytes.

CBA chief information officer Michael Harte said the NetBank Vault product would instead be limited by the amount of files that users store online, which has been capped at 1,000. Users can store any type of file, although the bank says any illegal material will be stopped.

“Customers will be able to save important documents such as pay slips, contracts, scanned copies of passports/drivers licences, receipts and product warranties, etc, in their online bank account,” the bank said in a statement.

The introduction of the product comes alongside an overhaul of its online features, including new updates for its mobile apps, a new look for its online banking portal and an app for Google Chrome.

Fadaghi says if the product takes off, it could present a situation where similar companies follow suit, noting that “banks are in a unique position” to take advantage of the need for cloud-based storage.

“Today a lot of documents and statements like bills are presented as emails in peoples’ email accounts. Having an alternative storage destination could be seen as appealing by the large customer base.”

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