The way Kiwis bank is changing fast. No longer are banks’ customers prepared to wait until they get to the branch or their personal computers to transact. They want access to online banking on their smartphones at the instant they need it.
Everyone is different and banks need to tailor their banking methods to their customers’ wants. Some customers prefer good old fashioned face-to-face banking in branches, while others are wedded to their telephone or text banking. The ASB even has a Virtual Branch through their Facebook page that allows customers to chat with the call centre online whilst carrying on with work or other activities at the same time. Chat facilities on a bank’s website or on Facebook will be a godsend for people who can’t bear being on hold to the bank or don’t want others around them to hear what they are discussing.
Increasingly banks’ customers are wedded to smartphones and tablets such as iPads. As a result most New Zealand banks have mobile banking sites, which optimise the look of their online banking for use on small screens.
More recently many of New Zealand’s banks have launched smartphone apps for iPhone and Android mobile phones. They do much the same job as a mobile internet site, but customers find the applications quicker and easier as they have been specifically designed for smartphones.
It’s likely that all banks and related businesses such as building societies and credit unions will offer smartphone apps in the future if customers demand them.
The downside of mobile internet and smartphone apps is that only a limited number of services are available.For example, it’s not possible yet to interact with most banks’ budgeting software via your mobile device.
Watch this space, however.There’s a war on for customers and New Zealand banks will add new features to their apps to woo customers and prevent them from defecting to a competitor.
Already TSB is offering Bump, a smartphone app that allows iPhone users to bump phones with another user and transfer money.Google Wallet may follow with other banks, which will allow customers to use their phones as virtual wallets, tapping them on in-store sensors to pay.
Tip: Customers who have tried and failed with mobile internet banking sites, might want to try again with a smartphone app.