Random thoughts about nothing

ASB Bank - One Step Ahead in Creating the Future

, posted: 31-Oct-2012 12:18

Banking is on the minds of a lot of people at the moment, with the imminent death of a popular banking brand being announced recently. It has been on my mind a little longer than that though, as a major Kiwibank campaign encoruaged us to challenge stupid rules. As a Kiwibank customer, some very stupid rules come to mind, such as charging customers to self-service automatic payments, as well as the recent introduction of a $5 fee to establish Direct Debits. Stupid indeed, and definitely necessary of challenging. Not that Kiwibank is listening though.

I've already previously blogged about how AWESOME I have found ASB Bank. Note that I have not been paid to say anything, nor am I a current customer (although I have had accounts previously). In the interests of full disclosure I will admit that ASB did once send me a Kashin Money Bank as well as some M&Ms when they launched their iOS app (and thanks for that!).

So while on a long distance drive on Sunday night I thought I'd kill some time and phone the ASB Call Centre to discuss whether they would have any suitable accounts for me. The representative I spoke to was highly knowledgeable, and suggested a perfect set of accounts that would fulfil the requirements which I had set out. Amazing.

There was one further question that occured to me later, and while I would not expect my bank to offer Twitter support at 10pm on a Sunday night, that's exactly what happened. The well initialled ^SM responded in a timely fashion, and while unable to offer a complete answer, at least didn't just make something up to keep me happy!

Let me just say here that if I had not received an answer on Sunday night I would not have been "disappointed". Replies at such times go well above and beyond the call of duty, and I would not expect every query I make to the ASB social media team at all hours to be answered immediately.

^SM later suggested that I take a look at Experience ASB website, which I had been meaning to do for some time anyway. Starting out with the HTML5 support (say no to Flash, kids), the site was very impressive, with well crafted and informative videos and explainations. I already knew about the ASB FaceBook Tellers (when they opened up, I popped in just to say "hi" and the teller was super friendly and happy to say "hi" back), but what I never realised was that ASB is at least One Step Ahead when it comes to making payments to other people.

What I learned (this will not be news to savvy ASB customers), is that not only can you make bank transfers to any account in NZ that you have the account number for, you can also transfer money to anyone simply with their mobile number or their email address! While the process is well streamlined by ASB, it did take me a while to get my head around it, and assure myself of its safety and security. Turns out that it's so simple, it's genius!

An ASB Bank customer can simply direct a transfer to go to any mobile number or email in NZ. The recipient receives a TXT or email from ASB, telling them that they have received a transfer, along with a transfer code eg. ABCDEF. All the recipient needs to do, is log into www.asb.co.nz/collect and enter some very basic details (no need to sign up for an account or anything like that) to receive their money.

johnr (vote for him in the Kordia IT Superhero awards) kindly agreed to give me some money in order to test this service, and even upgraded me from the $0.01 requested to a coffee shout (cheers John!). The TXT came through immediately, and all I needed to do was to visit the ASB Collect site, enter: (1) The transfer code, (2) The mobile number I received the payment TXT on, (3) My own bank account number; and the process was completed. Once again - no need to register an account with ASB or anything silly like that.

This is truly brilliant, and really inspires confidence that ASB is serious about improving banking services for their customers. It can be a bit of a hassle to switch banks, but everyone has a tipping point at which the pros outweigh the cons. If that moment comes for me, ASB would certainly be my front runner (pun not intended but certainly apt).

Other related posts:
ASB Bank (Update)
Movie Review: Chronicle
The Telecom Treats Ultimate All Blacks Experience

Comment by nate, on 31-Oct-2012 12:56

Good enough to blog about but not to swap to?

Author's note by ahmad, on 31-Oct-2012 13:25

Absolutely Nate - changing banks isn't exactly like changing the brand of toothpaste that I buy.

Comment by omega0, on 31-Oct-2012 14:36

So you are not interested in changing banks and just call their customer centre on a Sunday evening to chat about bank products? And then to continue the contact via Twitter? "Let me just say here that if I had not received an answer on Sunday night I would not have been "disappointed". Of course not. It's Sunday evening, you are not really interested in changing banks, there's isn't anything to be disappointed at if they don't bother replying... It's just a waste of your time, their time, and our time reading this blog post.

Comment by KrazyKid, on 31-Oct-2012 21:36

Hey - don't give the guy grief.

1) The blog was interesting and informative - not wasting my time to read
2) the ASB call centre didn't waste it's time as its got free advertising form this blog
3) I might be tempted to change to ASB on the strength of this post, but have 2 years of a fixed mortgage to run out yet. It is not always that easy to drop banks. While I think the features mentioned are great, I am not going to pay a $1000+ in break fees on changing banks. 

Comment by SepticSceptic, on 1-Nov-2012 14:08

As much as your glowing review may tempt one to switch to ASB bank, one would also have to bear in mind that they are an overseas owned bank....

Comment by IcI, on 7-Nov-2012 21:09

@omega0 Word of mouth advertising is the best advertising there is & that's what happened here. You & everyone else will trust a person from your community over some rep or sales person. ahmads post was informative & he tested out what I didn't bother to do for myself yet. Thanks ahmad. @SepticSceptic You are right, this foreign owned thing really is a bother. Wish I had the stats to hand of how much money actually is flowing out of NZ because of this. @ahmad ASB seem like a very decent bank. Their personal bankers have helped my 9 out of 10 times on time ensuring I get the solution that fits. They have a built in 'Track my spending' section where you can assign how you spend your money and will give you a pretty pie / bar chart. The other nice feature is the SMS netcode. That's what I'm used to coming from South Africa. It costs $0.20 though. With up to 5 logins on some days it gets expensive quickly. Surely ASB get bulk rates from Telcos? Why charge us, their customers retail price for security that helps them?

Comment by Chaitanya, on 9-Nov-2012 15:54

@ SepticSceptic what if ASB is an overseas owned bank? They provide top-not ch service to locals, Kiwis. No point in standing local owned banks if they are abhorring.

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