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Banks invest in mobile e-commerce

Banks invest in mobile e-commerce

(10 April 2012 – New Zealand) As young tech-savvy customers start to expect digital banking at their fingertips 24/7, the sanctity of the brick-and-mortar bank branch is under attack. One in three Kiwis now has a smartphone, according to web technology firm Go-Globe, which makes them the ninth geekiest country in the world.

The banks are scrambling to develop and upgrade smartphone apps, which run all the core functions of banking with a few juicy extras – like using the phone's GPS to track down the nearest ATM or branch.

As apps and phones improve in functionality, the traditional interaction between banks and customers is set to be turned upside down.

The phenomenon is documented in a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, which reckons young guns are less concerned about cost savings and more interested in how smoothly banking integrates with digital living.

Repaying a debt through Facebook, or getting tweets when someone transfers cash into your account are not far away.

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) had the first smartphone apps on the market, and is one of the only banks to cater to the holy trinity of iPhone, Android and other smartphone operating systems.

'We've gone from zero to 44,000 users in less than a year,' said spokeswoman Erica Lloyd.

'With mobile, the landscape changes so quickly – it's easy to get left behind, so we knew we had to move quickly.'

Westpac’s latest apps make the leap beyond core banking services to actually creating added value.

ASB Bank's FastNet Classic gets top marks for being available on Android and iPhone, but garners a sad 2.5 stars from app store reviews: 'Poor design, and not consistent with iPhones UI [user interface] design', wrote one disgruntled user.

Then you have ANZ National, which is working on an Android version of its popular iPhone app. Bringing up the rear – understandably – is banking minnow Kiwibank. But even the little green bank has apps for both iPhone and Android in the pipeline – clearly no-one wants to get left behind.

The developments in banking are just one facet of an even wider mobile movement.
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