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Westpac NZ releases world’s first augmented reality banking app

Westpac NZ releases world’s first augmented reality banking app

Not so long ago augmented reality was considered a futuristic prop in the movies, says chief digital officer Simon Pomeroy.

Westpac New Zealand will release next month the world’s first banking app for account management using augmented reality.

The app will be available on any iOS smart device.

Its customers will be able to use augmented reality and its 3D imagery to check their credit and debit card balances, see their last five transactions, spend locations, categorise spending over a five-week period and get alerts when payments are due,

They can also make payments, check their hotpoints (the bank’s rewards program) balance and find the nearest Westpac branch or ATM. The locator will also work internationally to find an ATM Global Alliance machine.

Chief digital officer Simon Pomeroy says the 3D imagery provides a quick, easy, and unique experience for customers.

“Not so long ago augmented reality was considered a futuristic prop in the movies but a growing number of people believe it has the potential to change our lives as much as the internet and mobile phone,” says Pomeroy.

“This is the first time it has been used for account management in banking and we see a number of possibilities for it in the future.”

Read more: Innovators: ‘They are not smarter than the rest of us or have access to a special part of the brain’

The app was the winning concept from Westpac’s recent crowdsourcing Global App Challenge – UK.

Future updates will include payments and transfers between accounts and making the hotpoints catalogue available.

Read more: Kiwis happy to handle big sums of cash via smartphones, use wearable technology for banking: Westpac survey

Not so long ago augmented reality was considered a futuristic prop in the movies but a growing number of people believe it has the potential to change our lives as much as the internet and mobile phone.

Simon Pomeroy, Westpac NZ

Once the app is downloaded, the relevant cards are registered and the account is set up, customers just have to slide their credit or debit card under their phone which activates the camera. Balances, transaction history, spend locations and other information is then presented in 3D.

Pomeroy says other apps from crowdsourcing in New Zealand will be available when Westpac’s new online banking platform is released to more customers in September.

The platform will allow customers to do about 90 per cent of the activity that currently requires a visit to a branch online, including originating loans. The platform will be fully responsive, meaning it will deliver the same functionality on any internet enabled mobile device.

Read more: Westpac NZ to deploy private cloud

Pomeroy says Westpac New Zealand will be one of only a handful of banks in the world to deliver this capability and the only one in Australasia.

“This is an exciting time to be in banking,” he says, and notes how customer expectations and demands play a role in the bank's new programs.

“Customers are driving change and innovation through their uptake of new technology which is changing their needs and behaviours," he states. "Listening to customers and watching global trends is essential and initiatives like crowdsourcing are part of that."

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Read more: Westpac NZ turns to New York start-up for web banking

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz

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Tags augmented realitychief digital officerSimon PomeroyWestpac

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