Levi Allan demonstrating the ASB mobile banking app
Levi Allan demonstrating the ASB mobile banking app

Last week Levi Allen ASB’s digital channel manager demonstrated the latest version of the bank’s mobile app. The newest features allow you to deal with TradeMe directly from your phone, get balances from up to three accounts on the opening screen, manage Kiwisaver accounts and handle Facebook payments.

Clearly ASB wants to carve out a reputation as leader in mobile banking. The new app – or more accurately apps, there are three – are a slick way of doing banking on the move and pack a lot of functionality – almost as much as you can get from doing internet banking on a device with a larger screen.

ASB has apps for the iPhone and Android. You’d expect that. It also has an app for Windows Phone. That shows commitment, Microsoft’s phone software is still something of a niche – certainly less than 5% of smartphones used in New Zealand.

What’s more each phone’s app is fully native. ASB’s developers didn’t simply write one lot of code then port between operating systems. The Windows Phone version has that swipe left and right to get different screens approach used by all the best apps.

My bank is Westpac. I’m happy with the service and I’m in boots and all with a mortgage account, Kiwisaver and the works. Until recently I used the Westpac Android app – not often admittedly because the desktop browser software offers a better experience. So I’d only use mobile banking in an emergency.

Westpac’s Android app is at least one whole generation behind the ASB app and that’s being generous. However, I’ve recently started using a Nokia Lumia 920, a Windows Phone device. There’s no Westpac app at the moment.

Which brings me to my question: is a first-rate mobile banking app enough of a reason to switch banks? Unpicking all my existing accounts would take a lot of effort – I’ve a long history with my bank and, mobile apps aside, I’m happy with the relationship. Not having a mobile app is disappointment, but not enough to make me switch.

On the other hand, if something happened that made me want to take another look at where I bank, I’d say the ASB apps would be a draw card. So the app is a smart move on ASB’s part. All other things being equal, it would be the first bank I’d look to if I was about to switch my accounts.

6 thoughts on “Would you switch banks for a phone app?

  1. Heh, you need to be introduced to BNZ:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nz.co.bnz.droidbanking
    “Quickly pay for Trade Me items you’ve won by linking your Trade Me account to the app.”
    Also allows:
    You to see your balances without logging in.
    Extra security with 2 factor authentication.

    I think ASB is just catching up, except the facebook money stuff which if BNZ started doing that I’d switch banks, to me it is clearly an easy way to get scammed and all your money taken.

  2. I can’t believe how well done their mobile app is. When I first got my Android phone it was just a shell app, that is an app just just wrapped the mobile website up within it. Since the upgrade to v2 though, I’m actually amazed at how well ASB is doing with their app. They clearly get that Mobile is a big thing.

    I’m (obviously) already an ASB customer. I love them (and that’s a strong word for a damn bank) because of their customer service, which is in my opinion second to none. The excellent mobile app is just a real bonus. I don’t think I’d switch banks if say Westpac had a better app, but if ASB’s customer service went downhill majorly and Westpac’s went up, I’d switch.

    @beaverusiv: ASB offers similar features such a quick balance without needing to login. I don’t know who “had it first” though.

  3. ASB recently issued an update to all their apps which allows payment to Trade Me sellers.

    When I switched from Westpac to ASB part of the reason was their at-the-time upcoming Windows Phone app, but it wasn’t the deciding factor (that was Save the Change).

  4. Short answer: No.
    Long answer: Not yet.
    While Kiwibank is the only (of three) bank with an app. I can actually USE! (NatWest and A.S.B. have a lengthy registration process not practical/possible for someone overseas), I’ve been with A.S.B. for so long and have all my things with them. I do have a fee-free credit card with Kiwibank though, so maybe if I can transfer my KiwiSaver… I dunno.

  5. I agree Bill, I won’t change to ASB because they have apps, but if I was to change banks I would strongly consider ASB because they have consistently shown leadership when it comes to ICT over several years.

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