WestpacTrust will launch its online banking service at the start of May but already has around 8000 customers on its trial, according to spokesman Peter Thornbury.
“We restricted access during the trial but slowly added to it as we got things sorted out,” says Thornbury.
The key differences between WestpacTrust’s offering and the other online banks are the ability to search back through a full year’s worth of transactions and the ability to set up payees on the site without having to fill out paperwork at a branch first.
“We think we’re the first online bank to offer that capability,” says Thornbury. Users only need the payee’s bank account details and they can deposit money directly into the account.
The usual level of encryption is available — 128 bit — and only BNZ’s online bank offers a higher rate of protection at 168 bit.
There are seven banks in New Zealand offering online packages — ASB Bank has two offerings — an in-house service and New Zealand’s only virtual bank, subsidiary BankDirect. National Bank and BNZ both arrived on the scene late last year, with National leveraging off Countrywide Bank’s online trial which had been running since 1997. National Bank’s parent company Lloyds TSB bought Countrywide Bank in 1998. ANZ’s online offering has been growing in functionality since its first tentative launch last year. AMP also has an online banking package.