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The Co-operative Bank a late starter in the app race

Banking is becoming increasingly mobile, with all the major banks offering apps and a whole range of different ways to pay, from Bump to Facebook to NFC-enabled stickers. And now The Co-Operative bank has joined the fray, albeit slightly belatedly.

“We know our customers want a mobile experience that is different—and one that reflects the ethos of the bank,” says chief executive, Bruce McLachlan in a release. “That’s why we worked with a local New Zealand company, Alphero, to design an application that carefully considers our New Zealand-based customers. Our customers are also our owners after all, which gives us good reason to put them right at the heart of every idea and every product.”

All of the major banks have had mobile apps for years (ASB has led the charge when it comes to innovation in that space, with its app allowing users to pay to a Facebook friend, to a mobile number or to an email address, and it’s currently trialling ?”convenient contactless payments to your mobile phone” with PayTag). But it’s better late than never for the much smaller Co-op Bank—which, with the help of Y&R, officially announced its arrival on the scene last year with a big campaign that promoted its point of difference and flipped the idea of record profits on its head—and with minimal legacy issues, McLachlan says it has been able to design an app that “uses the latest technology and innovations in user design”. 

“We believe our application will rival those of any of the major, foreign-owned banks operating in New Zealand. It shows that we understand where the future of banking is headed, and that we’re agile enough to respond.”

Alphero founder Caroline Dewe, who was previously the chief executive of Fronde Anywhere, the mobile solutions subsidiary of Fronde Systems, says the bank wanted to push the boundaries to get the best possible user experience. She has worked on a number of online banking apps and believes that The Co-operative Bank’s is one the best on the market right now. She also believes it’s taken a really bold design approach and was quite innovative and very different from other long standing financial institutions that are hyper brand sensitive.

  • Check out an in-depth story on Alphero here

“Our brief was to let the customers make the app their own, which has led to some really exciting innovations.”

So what’s so ground-breaking about it?

As it says in the release: 

With one touch, the app allows customers to view all account balances, the next seven days of transactions and the previous seven days of activity across all accounts … As well as standard mobile banking services, the app offers a view of activity across all accounts into one, easy to read timeline, customised accounts that use a person’s own images and photos [a strategy BNZ employed successfully with YouMoney]; and a ‘payment failed’ alert so people can rectify failed payments on the same day. 

“Our mobile app will be no different to our face-to-face banking experience. It is based on the highest standards of security and it’s focused on what our customers want and need,” McLachlan says. 

The app is available for download from the Apple Store or Google Play.

This article originally appeared on StopPress.

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