Amanda Morrall talks to ASB's Anna Curzon about the bank's facility for making payments with Facebook friends or by email and mobile

By Amanda Morrall

The future of banking has a new face. You'll find it on the pages of Facebook and other portals that are fast replacing traditional banking models and methods.

Since ASB launched its new Facebook payment option on its app back in July, 10% of mobile payments processed are now made through Facebook.

In a Double Shot interview Anna Curzon, general manager of brand experience and digital channels, said the bank is moving rapidly into the mobile space because that's where customers are.

"We know that two million Kiwis are on Facebook and around one quarter of them are accessing Facebook every day and one million are accessing it through a mobile device. Our customers were telling us they needed a tool that would make banking simple and easy for them and fit into the slipstream of activities.''

NZ$1 mln of payments made through Facebook so far

Since July when the Facebook payment option went live, more than NZ$1 million worth of payments have been made via Facebook. Meanwhile, ASB's mobile app has been downloaded 160,000 times.

Curzon said the app has proven popular as a payment option for Trade Me transactions as well. Payments can be made to any valid New Zealand bank account, not just an ASB account.

Curzon said the decision by ASB to be "agnostic" in its development of mobile apps has expanded its reach among smartphone users and those with tablets. The bank made the app friendly for Apple and android users and it's also set to be launched for Windows 7.

"It means we have a depth and breath in terms of coverage,'' said Curzon.

Another innovation that's had a huge uptake by ASB customers is its Save the Change platform. The electronic piggy bank works by rounding up purchases by a set amount and channelling that money into a savings account. Although it hasn't been developed for an app yet, iPad users or those with FastNet online banking access can configure this option on their accounts for free.

Curzon said the system has proven especially popular among customers who find it otherwise difficult to save.

In the two years since it was launched, ASB customers using it have saved NZ$40 million between them.

Video technology launched

Separately, the bank announced Tuesday new video technology that will soon enable ASB customers to connect with banking specialists by appointment.  The will save time strapped customers from having to visit a bank branch directly to discuss banking matters.

New Zealand technology company FaceMe, which is providing the browser based video conferencing  system, said the interactions can be done without additional software downloads. The system will also support the sharing of documents online "making the call as functional as a real face-to-face meeting.''

The service is expected to be available on mobile devices over the next few months.

Ian Park, ASB’s executive general manager for retail & business banking, said in a statement the bank was keeping pace with technology and changing customer needs.

“New Zealanders are generally very tech-savvy and have continued to embrace mobile and video technology in their professional and personal lives. At the same time, video technology has matured to the point where life like video conversations, combined with live document sharing can provide a rich and satisfying experience for customers. "

"We believe that the New Zealand market, with its geographically dispersed and often time-challenged population will see some real benefits in having a simple, convenient and effective channel to engage with their bank when and where they want to.”

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