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Westpac’s new responsive online banking experience

In the age of proliferating touchpoints, many banks are intrigued by the benefits of responsive web design. Banks like Barclays UK and Swedish High-Street bank SEB have already gone live with responsive public sites, but the technology is less proven in the secure space. One of the pioneers here is Westpac New Zealand. This article highlights key points made by the bank pre-launch, our initial thoughts on the user experience and how you, the reader, can get hands-on experience of similar digital banking innovations.


In September 2013 Westpac New Zealand announced its intention to deliver a full-featured banking experience across smartphones, tablets and desktop using responsive web design.

The new approach was designed to:

  • Get back to “one web” – a single device agnostic platform
  • Move away from the proliferation of apps and app updates
  • Realise an expected 40 per cent increase in development speed

Just last week Westpac announced the new online banking platform, “Westpac One”, was live. Chief Digital Officer, Simon Pomeroy, said:

“New Zealanders want to bank anywhere, anytime from any device and Westpac One is the only platform in New Zealand that will allow them to do that. No matter what device a customer is using they will be able to do more of their banking online, particularly through their smartphone and tablet.”

The experience

The new experience is a radical departure from the old internet banking service. The navigation is clear and simple with four central options, as shown below. Each screen has an Action Menu that renders different “actions” depending on the screen. To help customers grow accustomed quickly, the bank has embedded an extensive range of ‘How To’ guides within the task-flow.


Three things we want to highlight

1. The Timeline

The timeline displays all banking transactions in one place – past, pending and future ones. This represents a new way of showing transactional data and is becoming more and more common. Inspiration has clearly come from the Facebook-timeline approach (See screenshot below, taken from the How To guide).


2. The app has clear benefits to the browser experience

Following the launch of this new service the existing app has been completely updated to the Westpac One experience. The app has three distinct advantages compared to the browser experience including:

  • Quick access using a five-digit PIN only
  • View balance and make transfers before login
  • View a Spending Meter – see how spending this month compares to your average spending in the last three calendar months across your quick balance accounts (see below)

As a result we think smartphone users will favour the app route in front of the browser one.


3. Prominent focus on selling

As seen above customers are just a few clicks or taps away from applying for a wide range of products. This sets a clear expectation with users – the mobile device is to be an end to end sales channel.

How to get a richer feel for this and other innovative digital banking experiences

Static screenshots can’t convey what matters most to digital teams – the overall user experience. To get at this, we regularly run interactive workshops in which we give live demonstrations of best in class mobile and tablet banking experiences. All sessions are tailored to meet individual clients’ needs.

Key takeaways – as stated by clients:

  • Truly inspirational session generating a lot of ideas and discussions across the team
  • A new and important level added to understanding competitor developments
  • Unique insight that we cannot get elsewhere
  • Experienced consultants guide us through each service and answer related questions

For a insights from secure areas and/or live access to banking platforms, please contact us today.

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