Westpac unveils app upgrades – Finance – Software

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Westpac is rolling out new features for its banking app, providing users with more money management tools while also playing into its wider technology strategy, including digital-first mortgages.

The national bank has launched its capabilities, built on ION architecture, across Apple iOS and Android devices through September.

Customers will need Westpac App version 10.9.0 to access the new features which include personal finance insights, new budgeting tools and the ability to track and categorise expenses.

The bank said the new tools play an important role in its wider digital strategy outlined in July’s market update discussing its digital mortgage plans, set to be available via its banking app.

At the July market update CEO Peter King said the “technology has been built, it’s been tested and we are on track to launch it in the fourth quarter of this financial year”.

Its MoneyBrilliant acquisition last year also ties into its latest app improvements, which King said provided an opportunity to bridge its personal financial management capability gap.

MoneyBrilliant lets users access budgeting and cashflow tools to assist with money management, which have now been incorporated into the Westpac banking app.

Westpac chief executive for consumer and business banking Chris de Bruin said the major is “building a digital first bank” which “is another step forward in making banking simpler and more intuitive for our five million digitally active customers.”

“Our customers are demanding more personalised insights into their spending and tools to manage their finances, particularly as the cost-of-living increases,” De Bruin said.

Westpac’s banking app will now include a spend tracker which gives customers a view of the last 12 months of transactions and allow them to track and categorise expenses.  

It also included improved budgeting tools which will enable consumers to gain a more granular view of spending categories and spot spending trends.

The banking app will also provide customers’ insight into top expenses, assisting them to make financial decisions.

“These new features offer customers insights into their spending and income history over the last 12 months, breaking it down into categories such as groceries, kids, education, pets, and entertainment.

“It will also give customers better visibility of their spending on insurance, home, and personal loans.”

The bank said its dynamic CVC, card lock tool and scam block feature all underpin its new functionalities.

The bank is planning on releasing more features including the ability to see accounts from other institutions plus tag expenses in preparation for tax time.

It is also said to be gearing up to launch a carbon footprint tracker in its app in partnership with sustainability fintech Cogo next year.  

In a Westpac Wire post, De Bruin added the bank is “starting to build the muscles and the machinery” to move faster.

“There are a few processes we could simplify, but we now put out releases every two weeks when we used to put them out quarterly – that’s an indication that we’re closer to being a company that moves at digital speed.” 

Westpac commissioned research by Lonergan Research found Australians are paying 87 percent more in cost-of-living expenses in a survey of 2000 people.

The data revealed 76 percent of Australians think digital banking will help them better keep track of their money with 70 percent stating a banking app with budgeting tools would help them reach financial goals. 

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