ANZ in Oz banks on Kiwi mobile platform

M-Com is working with banks in the US and Canada to bring them Kiwi-developed technology

ANZ Bank in Australia is rolling out a mobile banking service developed by Kiwi company M-Com — and major US and Canadian banks are also considering adopting the locally developed technology.

The Auckland-based company has been selling its mobile payment technology in New Zealand since 2002, but really got into mobile banking in 2005, when Westpac began offering a mobile service based on the technology. Then, in April 2007, ANZ in New Zealand began offering a similar service. ANZ in Australia will roll out its service this month.

M-Com spokesman Matt Krogstad says “New Zealand is a small, highly innovative market which is used to cashless payments.”

“Demand for mobile services is growing fast around the world and New Zealand is seen as a real leader both in payments technology and mobile banking.”

M-Com is growing fast on the back of this, he says. Other banks here and in Australia are now expected to expand their mobile services. However, M-Com’s current focus is on the US and Canada, says Krogstad.

“We are working with banks there to bring them our Kiwi-developed technology. Market reception has been very good.”

M-Com’s founders and many of its staff come from a banking payments-technology background. The company was set up in 2000.

M-Com also sells its technology to Paymark, the banks’ transaction processing company, which supplies services to Telecom and the Post Office.

“The SMS text-banking service is really a starter service aimed at students and people on the go — they check their balance, mainly, say their student loan — as they have limited access to online banking. The mobile banking service is more feature-rich and, for example, allows you to transfer monies between accounts,” Krogstad says.

The service currently being launched in Australia — “M-Banking” as the ANZ calls it — allows people to make payments and transfer funds via their mobile phone. A second, lower-level service, called “TXT banking”, allows customers to check their balance and receive statements for three accounts by SMS, according to MIS Australia.

ANZ New Zealand says that its “M-banking” service was specially designed for it by M-Com and that although the infrastructure is now shared between the two countries the application used in each market is separate.

“ANZ’s M-Banking capability was developed specifically for the New Zealand market after research highlighted that our customers would value being able to transact with us using this channel,” says spokeswoman Virginia Stracey-Clitherow.

She adds that take-up has been good with the bank’s target market of young people and students.

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