ANZ’s GoMoney and Commonwealth Bank’s Kaching app have also helped pioneer the Australian mobile payments market. NAB meanwhile has announced its intention to develop a NAB “wallet” on a mobile phone while St George’s owner Westpac is still running a limited release trial of its PayWay mobile payments application.
Although the banks don’t make much money out of these rats-and-mice transactions, it’s considered an important time for a consumer land-grab, by offering apps which might help make a customer more “sticky” and less likely to shift their accounts to a different financial services provider. St George also believes mobile banking services can help attract new customers.
According to Travis Tyler, St George’s head of e-channels, the bank handles 5.5 million transactions a month, 1.4 million of which are now made on mobile devices. Mr Tyler said that there was a clear and growing demand from customers for mobile banking and payment services.
“It’s going beyond just being functional. Customers are getting a better experience,” he said, adding that St George was focussed on offering as simple a process as possible.
Demand for mobile banking – and increasingly mobile payments – is clearly on the rise. A report issued late last year by Edgar Dunn & Co suggested that there could be 250 million mobile banking transactions a year by 2015 in Australia.
Meanwhile IT analyst Gartner last month issued a report saying that this year the value of mobile payments will surge almost 62 per cent to $US171.5 billion, with Asia Pacific tipped to remain the biggest international market for mobile payments for the foreseeable future. St George believes mobile banking will eclipse other online banking transactions within 18 months – it also claims that 35,000 of its customers interact with the bank only via their smartphones.