Are you ready for Augmented Reality?

Each year, the Research team at CANSTAR assess the business products and services developed by New Zealand financial institutions to determine which ones represent innovation excellence. Because while it is a rallying point for smart thinkers, entrepreneurs and the creative amongst us, innovation is a hungry beast and continues to demand new and better ways of going about our daily lives.

To be described as ‘innovative’, we believe a product or service should be a first and perhaps open up a new market.

We assess both the degree of innovation and the overall impact the product could have. In terms of degree, we consider whether there are any other similar products available, ways in which the entry is different to existing products, whether it is a “first” in New Zealand and whether it opens up any new markets.

We also assess the potential significance of impacts to the existing market in terms of competition. And, of course, something that’s truly innovative can’t help but have that “wow” factor.

This year CANSTAR has chosen two outstanding products from 16 submissions to our Innovation Excellence Awards. One of these products is Westpac’s Augmented Reality.

What is the product?

Augmented reality, or AR, is well known to gamers but completely new to the banking sector. Traditionally conservative, the banking industry is charting new territory led by true innovators like Westpac New Zealand.

In a global first, Westpac has created an app that uses augmented reality to give its customers 3D imagery to deliver real time account information and insight in a visual and interactive way – simply by placing their card underneath their phone camera.

Westpac customers can now check their credit and debit card balances, see their last five transactions and spend locations, categorise spending over a 5 week period, be reminded when payments are due, even check their hotpoints balance.

The downloadable App is available free to all Westpac customers who use iPhones. It requires a one-time set up using online banking credentials. From this point their cards are automatically uploaded from their online profile. The customer then simply holds their credit or debit card in front of the phone’s camera when the app is open.

Westpac’s Augmented Reality Banking app is a great example of using dynamic technology to connect customers quickly and easily to their data in a far more personalised, meaningful and interactive way.

Standout features

There are a number of standout features of the service, including:

• Uses online banking data once only to pre-populate and personalise AR app.

• Will only use relevant cards registered for online banking to show in app.

• Simplicity is the biggest benefit. Westpac customers using this app can access meaningful and personalised spend and account insight brought to life in a visual and interactive way – no need to long in or toggle through webpages – they can simply open the app and put the bank card under the phone camera to activate.

• Coming soon … use the app to find the closest Westpac NZ branch or ATM. Use your phone and app as a compass to find an international ATM. For house hunters, point your phone at a house and it will tell you its estimated value, likely monthly mortgage repayments and you can start the mortgage approval process with the tap of a phone.

CANSTAR’s verdict …

In excess of 50% of bank customers who log into their online or mobile banking accounts want more insight into their everyday banking. This product delivers in a quick yet engaging way, using state-of-the-art 3D technology. It’s a free app that builds on our ever-increasing penchant for living our lives through our mobile phones. Quite frankly, there is nothing in the world like Westpac’s Augmented Reality Banking.

CANSTAR congratulates Westpac on its Innovation Excellence win.

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