Kiwis bank on smartphones as sector undergoes "fastest shift" in consumer behaviour

Busy Kiwi customers armed with smartphones are pushing demand for mobile banking to new heights...

Busy Kiwi customers armed with smartphones are pushing demand for mobile banking to new heights with financial transactions on ASB’s mobile app increasing by two thirds in the past year.

The rapid change to mobile banking has pushed internet banking firmly into second place and is being described as one of the banking sector’s biggest and fastest shifts in consumer behaviour, a trend that many believe is set to continue.

“Today, that gap has widened further,” says Fiona Colgan, General Manager, Digital, ASB.

“The number of active customers using ASB’s mobile app has increased by more than 40% over the past year. Financial transactions on the mobile app increased by two thirds during the same period.”

ASB introduced its mobile banking app in 2012 and in little over a year Colgan says more Kiwi customers were banking through a mobile device than through traditional internet banking.

“The ASB mobile app has grown at four times the rate that FastNet Classic internet banking did at the early stages of its lifecycle,” she adds.

“Customer uptake and usage of our app is growing weekly and with 90% of New Zealanders estimated to be on smartphones by 2018, growth in this area shows no signs of abating.”

Since inception, the ASB mobile app has handled 25 million transactions, cementing New Zealand as a nation of savvy early adopters.

So much so that Google research suggests New Zealand is ranked 17th in the world for smartphone penetration, with an estimated 65% of Kiwis now owning a smartphone.

According to Colgan, this surge in smartphone uptake has had a big impact on many Kiwi industries - but especially banking.

“Our customers live life on-the-go and we know that mobile banking makes their life easier,” she adds.

“They are using ASB Mobile to check their balances via our Quick Balance feature and keep up with their bill payments.”

Colgan believes time has become a “precious commodity” in our modern day lives and it’s in this way that ASB’s mobile app is having its greatest impact.

“Our research shows that our customers are prioritising quality time to be with their family and mobile banking gives them more time to do that,” she adds.

When internet banking was first introduced, Colgan admits that many customers were nervous about security and reluctant to share their credit card details online.

Yet despite early reservations there are now 1.75 billion smartphones in use worldwide and Kiwis have become increasingly reliant on theirs, with 63% accessing the internet through smartphones each day.

Colgan believes smartphones and multi-tasking “go hand-in-hand”, with 84% of New Zealanders using smartphones while performing other activities, like watching TV.

On average, Kiwis have 27 applications on our phones, while over 33% have used their smartphone for purchasing.

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