Each year CANSTAR collates its research of the pricing and features of everyday banking products offered to New Zealand consumers to announce the Best Value New Zealand Everyday Banking award. Taking the coveted award for 2014 is Westpac. CANSTAR caught up with Mark Lenaarts, Westpac Product Manager: Savings & Transactions Strategy, Products & Marketing for a Q & A on market trends and product features.
Q: In CANSTAR’s analysis, the quality of Westpac’s online platforms was particularly noted. What has the trend been towards online banking over the past few years?
As a result of the wide range of initiatives for Westpac customers, usage in the digital space has grown significantly with mobile and tablet usage tripling over the last two years. Westpac products and services are developed with the customer at the centre of the design, and we know they want to bank anytime that suits them, on any device they like – so we’re building to make sure they can do just that. For example, we have enabled customers to check their account balance on any mobile device with one simple click, which has been very successful with around 5.3 million balance requests actioned last month. Now customers have told us they want the ability to complete quick transfer, so we’re building that functionality and it will be available in the next few months.
Q: Your online banking app also enables customers to apply for home loans and other lines of credit online. Has this been a popular feature?
Traditionally most banks have looked at online banking as a way to check balances and move money around, but our customers want more self-service options. We’ve been responding to this by making more banking services available across all our devices so it’s less balance checking, and more genuinely banking online. For example, customers are now able to apply for a home loan, personal loan or credit card and obtain an approval within 60 seconds. This has also been very popular with 30% of new credit cards now being originated through our online channel and around 30% of those being requested through a mobile phone or tablet.
Q: In terms of deposit products, what should customers look for in a good-quality transaction account?
A great everyday transaction account will reflect the way in which the customer wishes to bank. Whether this is online, visiting a local branch or using ATMs customers have a wide range of choices. Westpac are here to make everyday banking as easy as possible and to give customers great tools to ensure their money is working best for them.
Click here to read CANSTAR’s Best Value New Zealand Everyday Banking award report.