Mobiles becoming dominant for banks

Last updated 07:56 22/07/2013

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The growing love affair smartphone-toting Kiwis have with mobile banking is starting to push the desktop PC into second place.

ASB is the first bank to reach a "tipping point" where more than half of all customers' online sessions are now taking place on mobile devices.

Head of digital experience and commerce Michael Ramsay said the behavioural shift was one of the biggest and fastest the bank had observed in its 160-year history.

"In only a relatively short time, mobile banking has evolved from a niche technology into an accepted part of everyday life for most customers," he said.

ASB's smartphone app was launched in 2011.

By the end of the first year, the volume of transactions was already four times more than those that took place during internet banking's debut.

Ramsay said the convenience factor of being able to bank on the go appealed to people leading increasingly busy lives.

The bank had also received "great feedback" on its innovative approach to customers transferring cash, which includes making payments to Facebook friends.

"Being able to pay someone out of your contacts to their mobile number or email is really powerful - it just simplifies the whole process," Ramsay said. "I use it all the time to pay the babysitter."

The state-owned Kiwibank expects to reach the same tipping point later this year, with a 300 per cent uptake of mobile banking in the past 12 months.

BNZ has doubled the number of mobile users in the space of a year, and experienced 191 per cent growth in the number of logins.

Westpac has experienced a massive 450 per cent increase in mobile logins during the past year, a growth rate three times faster than internet banking at the same stage.

But the bank's head of digital, Simon Pomeroy, said the mobile explosion wasn't coming at the expense of the traditional desktop computer. Customers were using multiple devices, he said.

MOBILE ARMS RACE Banks are constantly developing new functions and upgrades to their smartphone apps to try to beat their rivals' offerings. Here are some examples of the features on offer:

ASB:

Make payments using only a mobile phone number, email, or Facebook

Pay for items won on TradeMe

ANZ:

Search transaction history

Customise with photos

BNZ:

Links to your TradeMe account

Join the bank without entering the store

Kiwibank:

Send messages to your online relationship manager

View KiwiSaver and credit card balance

TSB:

Send and receive bump payments (wirelessly connecting two mobiles)

Personalise account names, appearance, and level of security

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Westpac:

Cash Tank app for checking balance without login

Impulse Saver for one-off transfer to savings account

- Taranaki Daily News

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