Amanda Morrall talks to Kiwibank's John Scully about the bank's home brand personal finance software
By Amanda Morrall
Kiwibank is as loud as it is proud about being 100% New Zealand owned and bills itself as the peoples' bank of choice.
While the bank is fiercely protective about its brand and ethos, it made the decision to be agnostic when launching its personal finance software Heaps, which can be used by anyone regardless of whom they bank with.
Kiwibank's John Scully, manager of on-line channels, said the programme, which is free, was designed with the end goal of making all its users, not just Kiwibank customers, more financially competent.
"It's really linked to Kiwibank's core function in that we are here to try to make New Zealanders better off in the long term,'' said Scully.
Kiwibank customers using Heaps are advantaged in one key way. Once they register for the personal finance software, their transactions are automatically fed into the programme which monitors and categorises spending and saving.
Users belonging to other banks have to download this information from their banks and then upload it into Heaps.
Uploading of information aside, Scully said the programme has been designed to remove the "heavy lifting" that other personal finance software programmes on the market have yet to overcome.
Most of the strain relates to the coding and classification of purchases and expenses, which are then tallied into groups to give users an indication of where they are spending all their money and conversely where they are earning and saving.
Scully said the programme has been engineered in such a way that 80% of all transactions can be categorised by the software system leaving only a handful of items for users to classify themselves.
Scully said over time, and with an increase in users, the job will become easier because the system is intelligent. It will create and add new categories based on user transactions.
So far, Heaps has about 45,000 users, half of which are Kiwibank clients.
While there are no present plans to turn Heaps into a mobile app, an increase in demand could see the bank render it for smart phones and tablets.