The bank released the results of a Newspoll survey saying that 79 per cent of Australians would be comfortable with fingerprints one day replacing PIN codes. According to the bank’s ANZ CEO Phil Chronican, it may take a further two to three years before biometrics are a commercial prospect for banking, but he acknowledged that the bank was looking at biometrics because it was concerned that PINs and passwords could be compromised.
“The beauty of biometrics is that they are harder to steal,” he said, while acknowledging that storing customers’ biometric data would require high levels of protection.
ANZ was the first bank to offer smartphone based banking services with the launch of its goMoney application for iPhones back in 2010. It now has 750,000 users of that system, and recently introduced an Android version.
According to Mr Chronican the bank is now handling 5 million transactions a month through goMoney. There is a clear sea change in customer behavior underway as he added that ANZ’s in branch transactions were dropping 4-5 per cent a year.
Adding to the raft of mobile applications already available from ANZ, the bank today unveiled a 25 person internal trial of a contactless payment system which makes use of Near Field Communications technology. The mobile wallet trial which is on Samsung Galaxy 3 phones will make use of the secure element of the SIM card on the mobile phone to store financial data.
The app is scheduled to be officially launched for customers in 2013.
In all the bank has spent about $250 million this year in major projects. Mr Chronican said $100 million of that was on new functionality supporting the slew of technology products that the bank unveiled in Melbourne today.
Technology is a key focus of the bank’s $1.5 billion, five year Banking on Australia programme which will also see a major branch refurbishment, the introduction of new ATM devices, and Cisco video conferencing in 43 remote branches.
Mr Chronican characterized this as “an investment in ANZ’s future in Australia.”
For businesses the bank also announced an iPhone and iPad app called FastPay which builds on the goMoney foundation and allows small businesses to process credit and debit card transactions up to 6.30pm and have them settled that day into their account. According to a spokeswoman for the bank this same day settlement is possible for all credit and debit cards, regardless of which bank issued them.
However at this stage the bank is not offering a dongle to allow businesses to swipe customer cards, but instead requires them to be physically keyed in.
Beverley Head attended the launch event in Melbourne as a guest of ANZ.