Westpac has released the first stage of its re-engineered online banking platform as it reveals a $15 million, 18 month programme aimed at delivering customers the best digital and mobile banking experience in New Zealand.
The new online platform will deliver multiple firsts for banking in New Zealand and Australia, and its development will be a collaboration with customers, supplemented by a rollout of progressive mobile apps.
The first stage has already been released to 5,000 staff and a staggered rollout to customers will begin in October and be available to all Westpac customers by early 2014.
It is a fully responsive platform meaning no matter what internet enabled device customers use – desktop, smartphone, tablet – they will have access to the full capability of online banking including all transactional activity, payments and can acquire and amend products and services.
This is a first for New Zealand and Australia and Westpac is among only a handful of banks around the world able to deliver it. Underlining the importance of the digital platform, Westpac has more than 280,000 logins per day and payments and transfers have increased 21% per month over the last year.
General Manager Retail Bank, Ian Blair, said Westpac is focused firmly on delivering the best digital and mobile banking experience in New Zealand. Westpac’s strategy is based on the premise that customers are mobile and that the device they’re using is an enabler.
“Customer uptake of new technology is changing business models around the world and banking is no exception. Now, customers expect to be able to do everything they want on whatever device they are using at whatever hour of the day it is,” Mr Blair said.
“Online banking is the centrepiece of meeting that expectation and the capability we will be building into it, combined with being able to access all aspects of it no matter what internet enabled device is being used, will be game changing for our customers.”
“On top of that, we have a really innovative and progressive programme of mobile apps to supplement the new platform. It’s exciting times for us and as the programme rolls out we hope customers are equally as excited.”
Some of the new online features will include enhanced search, budget and savings capability and the ability to originate most product and service applications that currently requires a visit to a branch or phone call to a contact centre.
Mobile apps will have a strong consumer and small-medium business (SME) focus. For consumers, there will be savings and transfer innovations while for SME’s the rollout will include multiple signatory capability, better linkages with accounting packages and developments in the payments space.
Head of Digital, Simon Pomeroy, said while competitors are concentrating on the mobile phone as the driver, Westpac believes the customer is the driver while the device is simply the enabler.
Westpac’s digital and mobile programme is an integrated strategy that will use technology to link customers back to appropriately qualified staff.
Mr Pomeroy said banking has always been built on relationships between people and that aspect has not changed even with the ubiquitous nature of mobile technology.
“With customers wanting to take control and self serve more and more of the transactional side of banking, the opportunity is to significantly improve the way we interact with customers,” Mr Pomeroy said.
“Our objective is to provide a seamless experience no matter what channel the customer chooses to use and no matter what the customer wants to do, with all our digital and mobile channels leading back to appropriately qualified staff to help.”
“Westpac is the only bank in New Zealand taking this integrated approach. Technology is a great enabler but it is not a silver bullet on its own to meeting the evolving needs of customers. We understand that.”