Australians sure do love their technology.
What’s more, Australians have been quick to embrace the benefits of online banking, with over half of Australian adults already banking online regularly.
Now, our relationship with banking and technology is set to deepen even further with some exciting new tech developments on the horizon.
All the major banks in Australia have developed nifty banking apps. For the most part, these enable basic functions such as balance enquiries and quick transfers but don’t quite replace the role of a brick-and-mortar bank branch.
The app race is getting competitive, though. Earlier this month ANZ revealed a new app called ANZ FastPay. In another technology first, this is the first Australian banking app to allow business customers to process same-day credit and debit card transactions through an iPhone or iPad.
In a cut-throat and highly competitive banking market, banks know customers want apps that will help them fit mobile banking into their busy lives and we’re likely to see other exciting innovations in the banking app space in coming years.
Going cash free with NFC
Another technological development that has Australians talking is the ever-looming Near Field Communication (NFC) boom.
NFC allows users to transfer data wirelessly over a short range. It sounds quite space age, but think of a work ID card that needs to be swiped to access a building, or a prepaid smart card used on public transport. These are all everyday examples of NFC in action. In banking terms, NFC would allow for fast and convenient cashless payments.
A number of high-end Android smartphones are NFC enabled, and many were surprised when the iPhone 5 didn’t include NFC capabilities. Smartphone adoption, already high in Australia as mentioned above, will have a huge impact on the roll out of NFC.
Banks still have some work to do convincing the public of the safety, security and benefits of transacting using NFC but it’s widely accepted that this is the future of cashless payments. ANZ and Westpac are already trialling NFC with Android devices on a small scale so watch this space! NFC could be nearer than you think.
The bank of the future
While the traditional role of the bank branch is changing, the ATM is set to become more prominent and multi-functional. While we mostly think of ATMs for withdrawing cash, there’s a lot of potential for them to help customers fulfil a wider variety of banking functions.
We can expect future ATMs to process cash deposits and instantly credit a customer’s account; improve self-service options and even enable video conferencing with banking advisors for more complex enquiries and transactions.
With it, we could have more effective 24/7 banking and a way for banks build trust in new technology with customers who still prefer to deal in cash.
Banking gets sci-fi
To me, it sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi film but biometrics, the use of biological data for verification and authentication, is already here. NAB introduced a voice biometrics system back in 2009 for its banking system and with the rise of NFC on the horizon, biometrics is set to be big news.
Retina-scanning and electronic fingerprints are considered a far more secure verification method than a PIN or signature but in a recent piece by ZDNet Dr Ted Dunstone, chairman of the Biometric Institute’s technical committee, argued that for a more secure banking system biometrics could work in conjunction with traditional security methods.
After all, it’s pretty hard to get your fingerprints wrong!
The future of banking in Australia – it’s technical
Following ANZ’s widely publicised $1.5 billion ‘Banking on Australia’ plan to invest in emerging technology to win the bitter banking wars, we can only expect other major banks to follow suit.
While the banks will push hard for a cashless, branchless future, ultimately it will be consumers who accept or reject the new tech-heavy banking systems.
Given Australia’s love affair with technology, I think it’s safe to say the future of banking in Australia will be highly technical!