by Divina Paredes

Kiwis happy to handle big sums of cash via smartphones, use wearable technology for banking: Westpac survey

Jun 17, 20144 mins
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Majority of New Zealanders, nearly 70 per cent, are confident dealing with amounts up to $10,000 through mobile banking and 15 per cent are comfortable handling sums of $50,000 or more according to the latest Westpac Mobile Banking Report.

“The report underlines the convenience and control that customers want to have over their banking and how they can achieve that via a mobile device. They can do what they want, when they want from where ever they want,” says Simon Pomeroy, chief digital officer at Westpac.

The report also looks at the impact of mobile banking on visiting branches and how New Zealanders view the trend toward wearable technology such as Google Glass and SmartWatches.

Of those using mobile banking, 44 per cent say it makes no difference to whether they visit a branch while 55 per cent say they visit a branch less.

Emerging technologies like Google Glass and SmartWatches appeal to Kiwis with 26 per cent of those surveyed responding they are highly likely or somewhat likely to use them. In addition, 48 per cent of those said they would use these new technology platforms for banking.

Wearable technology is getting attention around the world and it is clear New Zealanders want to use it as well, including for banking. Simon Pomeroy, Westpac NZ

“Wearable technology is getting attention around the world and it is clear New Zealanders want to use it as well, including for banking. We have made good progress in making sure our apps are ready for customers to use when Google Glass and SmartWatches are publicly available here and we will continue to take a global view in what we deliver for our customers,” says Pomeroy.

The online survey of 820 people conducted in May follows the first Westpac Mobile Banking Report in late 2013. The findings show New Zealanders are spending more time using mobile banking and doing more specialised tasks including:

•87 per cent transfer funds (up 4 per cent on 2013 report)

•73 per cent pay bills (up 9 per cent)

•55 per cent pay friends (up 7 per cent)

•34 per cent set up new payees (up 7 per cent)

•26 per cent check interest rates (up 7 per cent)

•26 per cent use it to find a branch or ATM (up 9 per cent)

“We continue to see a lift in customers who say that by using mobile banking they have an increased awareness of their finances (up 3 per cent), that it allows them to pay their bills on time (up 11 per cent), it’s easy to do (up 6 per cent) and it saves them time (up 5 per cent),” says Pomeroy. “Just under 75 per cent want to be able to do everything on a mobile device that they can do on a desktop computer which is something we aim to deliver to our customers in August or September.”

The device of choice

The report shows New Zealanders are using smart devices more often throughout the day. While the use of tablets is growing strongly, the smart phone is still the device of choice.

The peak time for using a smartphone is between 7am to midday (56 per cent up 15 per cent) with the next heaviest use coming between 5pm to 8pm (49 per cent up 12 per cent). While tablets continue to be used throughout the day, they are most often used between 5pm to 8pm (40 per cent up 16 per cent).

The increased usage of smart devices is reflected in the increased time spent on mobile banking according to the report. While nearly 70 per cent of respondents spend up to one hour per week mobile banking, 6 per cent (up 2 per cent) are spending up to three hours a week.

This increased usage is reflected by a 23 per cent growth in the volume of mobile banking payments between January and May 2014 by Westpac customers – 1.55 million payments with a value of $368 million.

Related:Simon Pomeroy of Westpac NZ: Inside the digital suite

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