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Westpac sees more digital banking in the future, launches new budgeting ap

Wednesday 26th September 2012

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Westpac Banking Corp, New Zealand's second-biggest bank by assets, is continuing its push toward digital technology, where it sees more services will be delivered, and has launched a free budgeting application for smart mobile phones.

The local unit of the Australian bank has launched the application after an online survey found a glaring hole in New Zealanders' budgeting nous. Westpac's move is the latest in a series of initiatives to increase its digital footprint towards where it sees more mechanical banking transactions taking place.

"We think banks are going to change enormously in the next decade," Callum Wilson, general manager of strategy, productivity and innovation told BusinessDesk. "It's absolutely going to be about social media, mobile, and a whole suite of digital interaction, and we need to get on the front foot."

Westpac has already launched a mobile app that lets people put cash into savings at the touch of a button, and another app that gives them an update on their bank balance.

The bank's cash-tank app gets about 20,000 requests a day, and was driven by the 100 million annual balance queries Westpac receives.

Wilson said the shift towards greater use of new devices for some banking won't end the need for physical branches, with certain services needing face-to-face interaction.

The new budgeting ap, which is available to anyone, will let users plug in their personal financial information against the backdrop of Statistics New Zealand's database to help measure various budget targets.

The bank's dual listed shares fell 0.8 percent to $30.90 on the NZX today.

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