Smart Screens Shake Up Australian Banking

Banks in the region are in a race to be the first to market with innovative mobile technology.  From contactless payments on your smartphone to banking on Google Glass, cardless ATM transactions and an ATM finder for your smart watch, the announcements are coming thick and fast.

Westpac New Zealand has been trialling a new fingerprint scanning tool to enable log in to its mobile banking app.  The proof of concept trial was carried out using the Samsung Galaxy S5 which supports the necessary technology.  Although there are no launch details yet, Westpac NZ hope to have the solution available for NZ customers this year.   A video released by Westpac NZ demonstrates how easy it is to set up a fingerprint in mobile banking and start using it to log in immediately. Based on the success of the NZ trial, Westpac Australia is also planning to carry out a proof of concept to test the technology against security and privacy concerns before deciding whether it will be rolled out here.

Mobile security is an issue across the banking sector, with ANZ announcing late last year they will revamp their mobile apps and are experimenting with voice biometrics as a way of carrying out security checks instead of passwords to log in.   With the use of Smartphones for mobile payment and multiple smart screens becoming a part of people’s lives, it’s this kind of innovation that will set our local banks up for what is sure to be a mobile revolution in banking.  The banking sector is clearly gearing up for some significant changes to the status quo.  Westpac is said to be testing St George’s MoneyMeter tool on Google Glass and  St George have just launched a new banking app designed for smart watches.

St George ATM Finder for the Sony Smartwatch 2

St George ATM Finder for the Sony Smartwatch 2

According to a recent report from Westpac, Australians will be making just under $3 billion worth of transactions via contactless payments on mobile devices by 2015.   Australians are leading the world in the use of contactless payments by credit cards at retail outlets across the country.  Usage figures have shot up from around 18% to 60% in the last 12 months and Westpac is predicting once people realise they can use the same technology on their mobile phone, the take up will be equally strong.

CommBank rolled out contactless payments late last year with their Tap and Pay feature that let Samsung Galaxy S4 owners pay at contactless terminals.  Customers with other smartphones can order a PayTag which can be stuck to the back of their phone (a bit like glueing your credit card to the  back of your phone!).

Similarly Westpac are rolling out contactless payments right now using the same NFC technology on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5.  Westpac predict that as many as 3 million Australians will be using this kind of technology on their phones in only a year or two.  To make contactless payments, customers link their credit card details to their mobile banking app, then simply wake up their screen and hold the back of their mobile to a PayWave or PayPass terminal to make a payment.

Westpac Tap and Go

Westpac customers can now make contactless payment using the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5

With change happening faster than most of us can keep up with, the Commonwealth bank have just launched a product they’re calling Cardless Cash which enables Commbank App users to withdraw cash from an ATM using only their mobile phone.  By logging into the Commbank App, customers can request 2 number codes – one from the app and one sent as a text message.  These codes can then be used at the ATM to withdraw cash.  Immediately Westpac announced they will offer the same technology by September this year although Westpac requires customers will need to call a 24/7 call centre to obtain a 6 digit code.

Remember when change in the banking sector could be measured in years?  Well the above announcements all happened in the last few months, so just imagine how we’ll be banking in 5 years time.




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