Aggregation banking services some way off in NZ

New Zealand banks are investigating the idea of letting customers look at all of their financial details on one web page.

New Zealand banks are investigating the idea of letting customers look at all of their financial details on one web page.

But it could some time before such “aggregation” of online banking services are offered here.

Increasingly common in Britain and the US, aggregation enables customers to view and manage their cheque, savings, credit card and investment accounts — including those held with other institutions — in one place using a single security log-in.

This one-click access system has proved controversial, however, because users must disclose their personal identification numbers and passwords for all the accounts they wish to use on their personal web page.

The Bank of New Zealand says it is monitoring overseas experience and investigating its possible use here.

“Aggregation, particularly in the UK, has only really taken off after agreements to share customer account information have been reached between financial services providers,” says channel and process optimisation general manager Andrew Whitechurch.

“Prior to that, less secure and reliable techniques such as ‘screen scraping’ were used to obtain customer data from other financial services providers for the purpose of aggregation. Until such agreements are reached in New Zealand, the reliability and hence viability of aggregation services in this market is probably questionable,” Whitechurch says.

Kiwibank IT head Ron van de Riet says the state-owned bank is aware of the issue, as it keeps arising at Australian banking seminars. “We have no plans at this stage for 2002, but we will keep an eye on it.”

ANZ spokesman Steve Fisher says the bank is looking “in detail” at aggregation but has no plans to offer it yet because of potential security risks — an issue he believes may be hampering its adoption in Australia.

The TSB Bank says it has no plans to offer aggregation services. ASB general manager of technology Clayton Wakefield declined to comment.

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