2014 was a year of many things…
The Year of the Horse according to Chinese Zodiac, the year Tony Abbott delivered a “cringe-worthy” speech to global leaders at the G20 Summit, the year Kim Kardashian bared all in an attempt to “break the internet” and wait for it… new banking innovations (hang on to your hats!).
From digital wallets to cardless cash, here’s a rundown of the banking and insurance innovations that wowed in 2014:
1. Cardless cash
The tech race heated up in 2014 with two of Australia’s largest banks CommBank and Westpac launching a cardless cash feature, which lets you make ATM withdrawals using your smartphone.
Commonwealth Bank Cardless Cash – CommBank customers can set up an ATM withdrawal using the CommBank app, which provides the user with an 8 digit Cash Code and a 4 digit Cash PIN to withdraw cash from a nearby Commonwealth Bank ATM.
Westpac Emergency Cash – Westpac customers can access their cash without an ATM card by calling Westpac’s 24/7 call centre, where the operator will issue a unique code, enabling withdrawal from the nearest Westpac ATM.
2. Peer to peer lending/investing
While P2P lending in Australia has been around since SocietyOne launched in 2012 – connecting wholesale investors directly with borrowers – this year we saw UK-based RateSetter launch in Australia becoming the first P2P to offer investment options for everyday Australian investors (not just wholesale investors).
3. Digital wallets
Now that you’re trained up on payWave and PayPass that let you “tap and go” using your debit or credit card, get ready for digital wallets that allow you to “tap and go” using your smartphone.
While the Commonwealth Bank, PayPal and MasterCard already have a digital wallet feature, this year supermarket giant Coles and Australian telco Optus came to the party with their own unique versions of the digital wallet.
Coles Mobile Wallet – Supported by MasterCard for iPhone and Android, Coles customers with a Coles MasterCard can use the Mobile Wallet to pay using their mobile phone by tapping the Pay Tag feature (which is stuck to the back of your smartphone) against the terminal while accumulating flybuys rewards points at the same time.
Cash by Optus – Launched in collaboration with Visa and Heritage Bank, Optus is the first Australian telco to launch a mobile payments app. What makes this digital wallet unique is you can load the amount you want to use (up to $500 at anyone time) just like a Visa Prepaid debit card.
4. Bundling Bonus
In 2014 two of Australia’s most popular savings account providers ING DIRECT and UBank changed the way savers earn that juicy bonus rate by bundling the savings account with an everyday transaction account.
ING DIRECT Savings Maximiser – Receive a 4% ongoing interest rate, as long as you link your ING DIRECT Savings Maximiser with the Orange Everyday account and deposit at least $1,000 a month.
UBank USaver – Enjoy a 4.02% ongoing interest rate when you open a USaver Ultra (Ultra and linked USaver) and deposit $200 each month.
Read Mozo’s Bundle or no saving bonus blog for a full rundown of the new bundling innovation.
Another innovative trend gaining traction in the financial world is tailored products specifically for niche lifestyle groups. Here are two that we thought were worth a mention:
Matrimoney Account – With more couples opting for cash over traditional wedding gifts, the Community First Credit Union Matrimoney account is a winner! While the account has been around since 2012, it’s still the only digital wishing well from a financial provider, where couples can set up a profile listing that allows guests to transfer a cash gift into an account earning a competitive 4% ongoing interest rate.
Online Cruise Travel Insurance – In the past if you were searching for travel insurance for a cruise holiday you only had the option to take out a standard policy, which meant you were paying for things you didn’t need like flight delay cover. This year online insurer InsureandGo launched its Cruise Travel Insurance, an Australian online first that is specifically tailored towards Aussies embarking on a cruise with features including unlimited cover for medical expenses onboard and onshore.