EXCLUSIVE: Westpac announces world-first augmented reality app, bringing ‘life’ back to banking


Westpac took to the stage at FST Media’s Technology and Innovation – The Future of Customer Experience and Business Intelligence conference in Melbourne today to announce the world’s first banking application for account management using augmented reality. 

Available in September, the application will give Westpac New Zealand customers the ability to use 3D imagery to check their credit and debit card balances, see their last five transactions, spend locations, categorise spending over a five week period, alerted when payments are due, make payments, check their “hotpoints” balance and find the closest Westpac NZ branch and ATM. The locator will also work internationally to find an ATM Global Alliance machine.

Simon Pomeroy, Chief Digital Officer of Westpac New Zealand, said the app was the brain child of a rocket scientist who worked on the banks’ crowd sourcing initiative – ‘The Westpac Global App Challenge – UK’.  

“Not so long ago augmented reality was considered a futuristic prop in the movies but a growing number of people believe it has the potential to change our lives as much as the internet and mobile phone,” Mr Pomeroy said.

“From the moment we saw the concept for this app in our crowdsourcing competition in the United Kingdom and started to develop it the impact augmented reality can have in adding a new dimension to mobile banking became apparent. This is the first time it has been used for account management in banking and we see a number of possibilities for it in the future.”

Pomerory said the application will initially be a separate application but will eventually become part of the banks’ digital platform,  ‘The New Internet Bank’, with the bank working toward  an whole integrated mobile wallet experience.

"This is the first time it has been used for account management in banking and we see a number of possibilities for it in the future."

In his keynote address, ‘The Disrupted Future – Navigating the Changing Landscape,’ Pomeroy said the bank needed to disrupt itself. "We are seeing the death of traditional industries that we thought were undisruptable."

Pomeroy also said that the bank is working to have an application ready to launch when Google Glass is released in New Zealand early next year.