by Simon Pomeroy, head of digital for Westpac
Banking is often seen as an industry that is slow to change, but the pace has picked up dramatically with mobile. In a recent survey that Westpac was involved in , 71 per cent of people said they wanted to be able to do everything on a mobile device that they can do on their PC. Here I will try to explain why Westpac is adopting a mobile first strategy and has now come to the UK to source innovation differently.
It’s interesting that parts of Africa have leapfrogged the developed world in their use of mobile for banking.
For example, M-PESA in Kenya accounts for 31 per cent of the country’s GDP (money transferred) and in many shops and cafes you can pay for goods by SMS.
Westpac’s ‘Cash Tank’ app for iPhone and Android was launched nearly two yeas ago and has been replicated by banks across the world.
It’s an app that shows you how much cash you’ve got in a nominated account, using an anonymised gauge.
Simple and easy to use, it’s great to be able to quickly check whether you have enough money in your account to buy dinner or that special purchase, without needing to go through a complicated log-in procedure.
Westpac currently receives 3.7 million balance requests per month using the app, which in a country with a population of 4.4 million, shows you the need for new service innovation.
Earlier this year  at Westpac we began working with London based ‘Open Innovation’ agency, LoudSource.
We wanted to crowdsource new ideas for banking services from people around the world.
Wespac initially launched in New Zealand and has now brought the Westpac App Challenge to the UK to tap into the creative innovation that’s gaining global attention here.
We’ve cheekily titled it ‘Kiwis Love Geeks’ and we really do!
At Westpac, we’re looking for ideas and often they come from unexpected sources.
One of our NZ contest winners was a former checkout assistant and we were impressed with the breadth and quantity of new ideas that people came up with. We hope to have two or three launched soon.
It’s been widely predicted that within three years over one billion people will access their banking via mobile.
At Westpac we’ve started to meet the demand, launching a fully responsive website so that a customer receives a great experience on mobile, tablet and PC.
Currently 35 per cent of our active online customers access their banking via mobile and it’s growing fast.
If any GoMo News readers have innovative ideas for new services that might help ‘Down-Under’ please get involved in the challenge.
One thing that we believe in is that innovation can come from anywhere.
Simon Pomeroy, is currently head of digital for leading New Zealand bank ,Westpac.