Banking tech round-up: 22 January 2018
Hot on the heels of the banking tech round-up on 19 January, let’s keep it quick and neat on fintech street. Our southern stars are Bank Zero, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
In South Africa, there’s a new bank. Digital-only Bank Zero has popped up and got its provisional licence from the South African Reserve Bank. The brains behind the start-up are two former First National Bank (FNB) colleagues – Michael Jordaan and Yatin Narsai. It’s set to launch in Q4 of this year and is targeting smartphone owners with its app.
Bank Zero says its “mutual banking concept mirrors current social media trends and benefits customers by allowing for the support and creation of financial communities”.
Staying south of the equator (for a change), Australia’s Westpac is offering iMessage so its customers can make payments without having to leave their text conversation.
On top of payments, users can generate a cardless cash code and share their BSB (bank-state-branch – i.e. six-digit number) and account details without leaving their text message. Westpac for iMessage is an extension of Westpac’s mobile banking app. George Frazis, Westpac chief executive, consumer bank, calls it a “first for Australian banking”.
Also Down Under, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has unleashed a new chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to assist customers with more than 200 banking tasks.
Called Ceba, it offers help with such activities as activating a card, checking account balance, making payments or getting cardless cash. CBA executive general manager digital, Pete Steel, says Ceba can “do the banking for our customers rather than just provide instructions on how to do it”. It will be available to more than 6.2 million NetBank and CommBank app customers in the coming weeks.