Ihug has announced a new channel alliance with the Bank of New Zealand.
The partnership will see Ihug offer a connection package worth $80 free to to BNZ customers who want to get online and make use of the BNZ's new Internet banking service.
It resembles an agreement struck between ANZ Bank and the free ISP FreeNet in Australia - but continuing access via Ihug will not be free. Ihug will also be able to provide its own brand PCs for BNZ customers without computers. Ihug director Tim Wood says Ihug PCs will present BNZ customers with "a much more affordable offer than is currently available in the reseller market."
Ihug has been talking to a number of banks since the middle of last year. Wood says Ihug and the BNZ have been working with each other for some time, running in-house workshops on smart card issues (likely to be a key element of Ihug's strategy, given the presence of smart card readers on Ihug's digital TV decoders) and online banking.
BNZ has established itself as the leader Web-to-bank processing with the Buyline product is developed with Advntage Group. It launched its own online banking service in November and is now claiming 10,000 customers.
"It's a nice fit for us," says Ihug director Tim Wood. "The BNZ have been on the same wave length as us for some time and we now have an opportunity to put that partnership into the market place. It's a win-win situation with Ihug getting to market to an extremly large customer base thats getting a very efficient and effective banking solution".
The relationship is initially set to run for six months.