About

Our purpose at Commonwealth Bank is to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and communities.

Decades of research suggests that money decisions and achieving financial wellbeing is difficult for humans. It also tells us that behaviours are important to outcomes, and may vary with seemingly irrelevant factors. By using behavioural science to better understand why and how people make financial decisions, and what works, we aim to make financial wellbeing easier to achieve.

To accelerate our progress, we have entered into strategic partnerships with worldwide research institutions, as well as working with community groups, experts in economic and social studies, and policy makers to better understand Australia’s most pressing financial challenges.

A vital step to achieving our purpose is defining and measuring financial wellbeing so that we can work to improve it in meaningful ways. We have worked with the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research to develop a reliable and consistent definition and measure of financial wellbeing.  

 

Financial wellbeing gives people the ability to meet financial obligations, make choices to enjoy life, feel in control of their finances, and feel financially secure now and in the future.

We define people’s financial wellbeing as the extent to which people both perceive and have: Financial outcomes in which they meet their financial obligations; Financial freedom to make choices that allow them to enjoy life; Control of their finances; and Financial security – now, in the future, and under possible adverse circumstances.

Often to simplify communication, we will refer to the financial wellbeing components in colloquial terms as:

  • 'Every day’ - how well people are meeting their immediate needs, such as mortgage or rent and utilities payments.
  • 'Rainy day’ - how well prepared people are to deal with unexpected, adverse events such as illness or job loss.
  • ‘One day’ - how well people can achieve long-term goals such as buying a home or a comfortable retirement.

Measuring Financial Wellbeing

To give practitioners and researchers a consistent, reliable, global way to measure individual financial wellbeing, we partnered with the Melbourne Institute Applied Economic & Social Research to lead research into developing the Financial Wellbeing Scales.

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Behavioural Science Research

  • Credit Card Transparency: A working paper on a large scale field trial on credit card selection and improving customer compatibility with operational transparency Read more
  • Credit Card Repayments by Spend Category: An industry paper on a field experiment to analyse effect of displaying credit card repayments by transaction category on repayment behaviour [Coming Soon]
  • Credit Card Repayments at Tax Time: A working paper on a field experiment to analyse the effect of nudging customers in real time to use tax refund windfalls to pay down high cost debt first [Coming Soon]
  • Incomplete Take-Up of Government Benefits: An industry paper on a field experiment to analyse the effect reducing psychological barriers on the incomplete take-up of social benefits Read more
  • Incomplete Take-Up of Government Benefits: A working paper on a field experiment on the effects of shifting burdens from citizens to a bank [Coming Soon]

Media

  • Demand spikes for the CommBank benefits finder as Aussies seek out digital welfare support during coronavirus crisis Read more
  • How CommBank nudges customers to do better Read more
  • The (behavioural) science of budgeting Read more
  • Why banks should explain the fine print on credit cards Read more
  • CBA taps into behavioural science to help with money habits Read more

Innovations

  • Your Financial Wellbeing Score: Provide people a better understanding of their financial wellbeing so they can take steps to improve it, whether it’s taking control of their finances, handling an unexpected expense or reaching their future goals Get your score
  • Benefits finder: A CommBank app feature that helps customers find unclaimed government benefits Read more
  • Money Plan: A CommBank app feature that assists with money management Read more
  • Goal Tracker: Whether you have a savings goal in mind or want to build a buffer for those ‘just in case’ moments, Goal Tracker helps you set and reach your goals Read more
  • Bill Sense: Bill Sense predicts customers' future bills and helps them manage regular payments and bills – all in one place Read more
  • Spend Tracker: A CommBank app feature that helps customers to stay on track with their debit and credit card spending Read more
  • Transaction Notifications: Enabling customers to turn on Transaction Notifications in the CommBank app to receive instantly alert when they use their CommBank debit or credit card and receive money into your everyday account Read more
  • Cash flow view: A CommBank app features that provides a complete picture of customer’s income, spending and saving habits Read more
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Things you should know

The information provided comprises the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and its academic partners’ view and findings, and is of a general nature only. The information is available for use by others, however we ask that you cite the initial research publications. In sharing our research findings and insights, we invite others to do the same. 

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and its academic partners shall not be liable for any errors or omissions, misinterpretation or misuse of the material provided. All information is provided “as is”, with no guarantee for completeness, accuracy or currency. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs, and does not constitute financial advice.