Westpac NZ turns to New York start-up for web banking


Moven’s technology is helping Westpac introduce new tools that let customers manage their money on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop PC. These features will be available when Westpac’s new online banking service launches in October.

Initially, customers will be able to better understand how they are spending money compared to historical averages. Updates planned for 2015 will provide customers with real-time spending alerts and feedback, as well as tools that help them decide if they can afford to make a purchase.

Simon Pomeroy, chief digital officer at Westpac, said Moven’s approach to banking in the digital age was aligned with Westpac’s own strategy.

Why a 153-year-old bank is partnering with a three-year-old startup: CIO New Zealand interviews Westpac NZ chief digital officer Simon Pomeroy and Moven CEO Brett King

“Like so many other sectors, banking is changing rapidly because of consumer uptake of new technology. Partnering with Moven to provide our customers access to new tools and features for managing their money is another step toward our goal of being the number one digital bank in New Zealand,” he said.

Partnering with Moven to provide our customers access to new tools and features for managing their money is another step toward our goal of being the number one digital bank in New Zealand. Simon Pomeroy, Westpac NZ

“While these tools were developed originally as a mobile app, we are integrating them into our fully responsive internet banking platform meaning customers will be able to use the features from any smartphone and tablet as well as desktop.”

Westpac and Moven are also planning to add features that enable customers to automatically categorise transactions and drill into any group for details such as where and when purchases were made.

They will receive a mobile receipt within seconds of completing a purchase, which is automatically categorised to provide real time insights into the implications of their spending, said Pomeroy.

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Customers will also be able to view their average spend versus their actual spend each month. They will be presented with a graph that uses a traffic light colour system – red, yellow and green – to illustrate their financial position. Users will also receive a monthly report showing how they are spending their money.

“The key to this set of features is the ease of use,” said Pomeroy. “It is developed with the digital age and the mobile consumer in mind.

“There is very little manual set up, it comes pre-loaded with 12 categories and other features and the way graphs are displayed delivers quick and effective budget and money management information in real time.”

Gamification philosophy

Moven’s founder and CEO, Australian Brett King, said Moven’s technology is based on the concept that if users get real time feedback on their spending habits, they will make smarter decisions.

King said in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, there is an expectation from customers to have more transparency from banks.
He said customers will also find the ‘gamification element’ helpful as they decide on each purchase. It enables them to drill down to view spending in different categories and identify problem areas, he said.
He said what they find is that by giving back this data back to the customers, they are aware of how much they are spending compared to the previous month, and in what categories.
“You make a conscious choice,” said King. “It gets you to save money, and gets you to spend less than last month. That is the gamification philosophy.”

This is the first launch of Moven outside the US; the start-up has sold its tools to CBW Bank in Kansas and is hoping to move into the Canadian market in the future.

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