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Westpac launches device-agnostic 'central platform' for mobile, online banking

Harley Ogier | Sept. 26, 2013
Aims to offer a full-featured banking experience across smartphones, tablets and PCs to its customers in Australia and New Zealand.

New features will include payment to mobile numbers and email addresses, application processes for 'most loans and services', and integration with accounting packages such as Xero and MYOB for SMEs.

"We are seeing a significant level of adoption for mobile technology in banking ... and that's really driving us to create an integrated strategy with online banking at the heart of it," says Pomeroy.

Looking at current mobile banking systems in New Zealand and around the world, Pomeroy points out that "most of its functionality today in the PC or in the desktop — the functionality starts to drop when you start looking at tablets and mobiles."

That concept is outdated, Pomeroy says. "Customers should have the same functionality regardless of the device they're using."

Trends alert
Speaking to New Zealand trends in device adoption, Blair pointed out that New Zealand had 54 per cent smartphone penetration in the first quarter of 2013, and more than half of those smartphone owners use mobile banking. 20 per cent of New Zealanders own a tablet, and 16 per cent own both a tablet and smartphone. (Data from Google and Ericsson)

Westpac's own numbers show over 1.5 million logins to the company's mobile banking service per month, up 457 per cent over the last 12 months. 33 per cent of those customers access the service from a mobile device, 10 per cent of all online payments are made via mobile and perhaps most surprisingly, 10 per cent of all home loan applications are also made via mobile devices.

"The opportunity that presents for us is to build a far more personalised and deeper relationship with customers.", said Blair. "Customers are using their mobile technology often to do their transactional type needs. ... It doesn't mean that branches or bankers are going to disappear. ... It actually frees up the time of our bankers to have better-quality, deeper discussions with our customers ... to really understand what their needs are and provide them with advice as they use the technology more and more for their transactional needs.

"The rise of mobile technology interestingly hasn't come at the expense of online banking. It's actually enhanced that experience and complemented it. We firmly believe that online banking will remain instrumental in the future of banking."


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