By Gareth Vaughan
ASB's move to enable customers to make payments to their Facebook friends is just the latest step in the bank's ongoing development of mobile banking with a 'whole host" of other ideas being worked on, says ASB's general manager for brand experience & digital channels, Anna Curzon.
ASB announced last week that from mid-July, ASB Mobile users will be able to pay Facebook ‘friends’ without using a bank account number after the bank upgrades its mobile banking application.
Curzon told interest.co.nz that for a payment to be made the payee has to be an ASB customer who has downloaded and registered the ASB mobile app.
"From there they go into the app and hit the pay transfer button," Curzon says.
At this point customers can currently select to pay someone via their mobile phone number or email address, but with the upgrade they'll also be able choose to pay someone on their Facebook friends list.
"You hit that, you'll get a list of your Facebook friends and select the person you want to pay and then you'll be able to put in a short description," says Curzon. "It might be 'for dinner out the other night', or 'for tickets to the Flight of the Concords', whatever, and the amount, confirm that payment, and hit it."
"At that point your Facebook friends, when they log in to Facebook or when they go into Facebook, they'll get a notification that hey, 'Anna's sent you some money'. They click on that notification, they're taken to an ASB Facebook social connect page and they are then able to pop in their account details. They don't have to be an ASB customer, they just need a valid New Zealand bank account, and from that point on we'll do the transfer for you to whatever account number you'd like us to pay."
Although a first for New Zealand, customers of ASB's parent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, can already make payments to Facebook friends via its Kaching mobile app. However, Curzon says the two banks pursue their own mobile banking strategies with ASB developing its app through a "collective design process" with customers rather than with its parent.
"For us it has been about being able to simply fast track your day to day aspirations between people and friends and business," says Curzon. "People have got so much on their 'to do list' it's really being able to take things off that list quickly and simply and be where our customers are."
"So we're integrating banking into the slip stream of everyday life and we know that a quarter of New Zealanders are on Facebook every day so it's a great place for us to be."
ASB launched its mobile app in May last year. Then last month it upgraded the app to allow for mobile payments via email and mobile phone numbers. The bank says in the 13 months since launching, there have been 110,000 downloads with it believing ASB Mobile to be the country's most popular mobile banking app.
And Curzon says there's plenty of opportunity for further development.
"We've got a whole host of really exciting ideas and opportunities. There is so much opportunity here. We will work with our customers to guide us in terms of our next steps with mobile banking."
"For us our vision is to allow customers to carry ASB in their hands so (we have) a huge focus on mobile banking," says Curzon.
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