Canstar gives a gong to Westpac and ASB banking innovations

Customer satisfaction research and ratings company, Canstar, says New Zealanders’ desire to conduct their financial affairs on mobile devices is driving banks to focus on mobile rather than online banking.

It has not offered any data to support this assertion, but has singled out two products that it says stand out as leading the charge to mobile banking: Westpac’s CashNav and ASB’s Clever Kash.

Canstar’s group manager for research and rating, Mitchell Watson, said: “Here at Canstar we conduct an annual assessment of the new products or services that have emerged onto the New Zealand finance market. Essentially, we are looking for the ‘stand outs’, the ones that have the ‘wow’ factor and the potential to influence and promote change across in the market both nationally and even globally.”

Canstar says both products are “looking to help an age old problem; how we manage our money,” and “while focussing on very different audiences, both products have targeted a customer’s need to manage their money while acknowledging the desire and appetite for speed and convenience.”

According to Canstar, CashNav was developed with an, unnamed, international fintech company to give customers real time insight into the implications of their spending. “The result is an app that is free to Westpac every day and credit card customers, and not only tracks their spending, but categorises and displays it in easy to read graphs and monthly comparison meters,” it said.

Watson said: “The New Zealand market had never seen anything like CashNav before. We were very impressed by the speed, ease of use and accessibility of this app. Westpac recognised that to capture the market, they had to lead change, not simply keep up with it. This is a real game-changer and with more releases promised to enhance functionality, it is a market disruptor in every sense.”

Westpac NZ chief digital officer, Melissa Macfarlane, said: “The success of uptake and long-term use of the app was dependent on how easily it integrates with users’ everyday lives. It was clear customers would value real time insights from their spend data, but it had to be effortless. No spreadsheets, no complicated setting up, just login and everything works.”

ASB’s Clever Kash is a ‘cashless’ moneybox in the shape of a toy elephant. It holds no money but displays the balance of the child’s ASB savings account. Parents make deposits using an ASB mobile banking app.

Clever Kash was designed as the digital successor to ASB’s Kashin moneybox that it has offered young customers since the late sixties. Canstar said Kashin had “given a tangible exercise in money management, helping us develop our foundation of financial understanding at a young age.”

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However change was needed. “For today’s younger generations EFTPOS, online and on-the-go payments mean that spare change is less likely to be lying around the house, making filling and emptying the money box a bit of a challenge,” Canstar said.

Clever Kash co-founder and ASB chief architect, James Bergin said: “By giving children the ability to set their own savings target and ‘virtually’ top-up their Clever Kash, we’re making the whole experience interactive, tangible and exciting.” He said over 30,000 Clever Kash moneyboxes were in use.

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