ASB trumps Canstar's first online banking survey

With customers embracing the internet and social media in ever-increasing numbers (the Banking Ombudsman has just released a new guide for online banking), Canstar has embarked on its first review of the New Zealand online banking market – and named ASB the best of the lot.

Canstar's first online banking reviewCanstar collected and analysed more than 300 pieces of information on the online capability of New Zealand financial institutions, centred around three areas: internet banking, banking website and online apps.

ASB's digital chops made it the clear winner as best online bank, according to Canstar New Zealand national manager Derek Bonnar.

“By putting its customers first and delivering service and innovation that goes beyond the website and onto smart phones, social media and shopping sites, ASB is leading the way in online banking. They make it easy for customers to keep in touch, to apply for new products and to shop online with the highest level of security.”

ASB stood out for its:

· iPhone and Android apps – the majority of other providers just have an iPhone app

· ASB Triple Check Function – customers must answer an additional three security questions at Verified by Visa or MastercardSecureCode websites before being allowed to shop online

· Virtual branch Facebook page

· Second factor authentication via token – in addition to or substituting SMS secondary authorisation as a security measure

· Online applications – step-by-step feedback given on online applications, paperless application for personal loans and 24 hour approval

· Wide range of calculators and tools including ‘track my spending’ which allows internet banking users to track and categorise their spending.

The advent of social media and connectivity brought about by smartphones has seen a number of banks reconfigure the way they interact with customers, said Bonnar.

“These days online or mobile banking means full service banking, just like it does in a branch. The most advanced banks are making sure that all customers, no matter where they prefer to do their banking, get the same service.

“ASB led the way with its virtual branch on Facebook. Some, like Kiwibank are taking it a step further by assigning internet banking customers an online relationship manager, and even wishing customers a happy birthday via an internet banking message.

“With the success of these developments, expect banks to innovate further to get even closer to their customers.”

With online banking accounting for half of the overall scoring, Canstar wasn't just looking at transactional capability, but how much of your banking can be managed through your internet banking portal.

Institutions that scored well interacted with customers through internet banking, be it through personal messaging, applications for existing customers, or allowing customers to manage their banking relationships online. Security, mobile phone banking, online reporting and help available were also taken into account.

For front-end websites, Canstar assessed content such as product information, tools and calculators, as well as help and ease-of-use factors.

For applications, the main differentiators were feedback given throughout the application process, the ability to save, progress, and return, and how truly online the process was. Help available throughout the application process was also taken into consideration.