The changing world of banking

The world is rapidly changing and the needs of our customers are changing with it.

Digital traffic has increased significantly and online banking has brought a range of transactional functions to our fingertips, anytime and anywhere. At the same time, fraudsters and scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and due to our enhanced capabilities we are preventing more financial crime every year. We know change can be hard sometimes, and we’re here to make sure our customers have all the tools they need to stay on top of their banking.

Changing ways of banking

More New Zealanders every year are choosing to bank online, and branch visits are declining. There are now more than 100 logins to internet banking for every over-the-counter transaction. During COVID-19 lockdowns, many customers unable to go into a branch have found phone or online banking to be a faster and more convenient way to look after their finances.

This has meant closing some branches to reallocate our resources to look after customers banking online and over the phone. When we make the tough decision to close a branch, we take care to engage with affected customers, especially those who may need extra help.

We proactively contact regular customers, including small businesses; host in-branch education sessions and Managing Your Money workshops to help increase financial capability; and partner with SeniorNet to deliver workshops around the country that help Kiwis over 50 with transacting safely online. This year we also introduced a prioritised 0800 number for customers 65 years and older.

Going cheque-free

While cheques have a long history in Aotearoa, the speed, safety and ease of digital payments has changed the way people bank. Cheque usage has steadily declined for many years; when we called time on cheques in June 2021, they made up less than 1% of all transactions.

Helping customers transition away from cheques is part of our work to help bring more New Zealanders up to speed with online banking. We also brought in our Digital Ambassador, former broadcaster Judy Bailey, who travelled the country talking to communities about how they do their banking, supported by members of the Financial Crime team who were raising awareness about current scams and fraud.

Fraud and scams

Criminals are taking advantage of people spending more time online, particularly during COVID-19 lockdowns. They’re carrying out increasingly sophisticated scams and cyber-attacks to steal people’s personal data and commit fraud. Scams can be very targeted and believable, playing on genuine human emotions, and anyone can get caught up in one.

We have advanced analytical tools to detect and prevent fraud and are constantly enhancing our capability to identify new and emerging fraud types. Our financial crime team works around the clock, helping 7,809 customers and has prevented $30.7m worth of fraud and scams in the past year.

Part of our job is working together with customers to help them spot a scam and keep themselves safe. In July we launched Stash the Cash, a fun and informative card game that teaches people about common scams and simple ways to protect themselves.