A 3D banking app set to be released by Westpac New Zealand is "far from a gimmick", says Simon Pomeroy, the bank's chief digital officer.

The app uses "augmented reality" technology to display in 3D information including credit card and debit card balances, recent transactions and spending locations. It was the winning concept from the bank's crowdsourcing initiative, The Westpac Global App Challenge - UK.

Westpac said the app would be released in September and it would work on any Apple iOS smart device.

After the app is downloaded, the relevant cards are registered and an account set up.
Westpac said customers then slide their credit or debit card under their phone, which activates the camera. Information is then presented in 3D.


Pomeroy said an important feature of the app was its ability to locate ATMs around the world that were part of the ATM Global Alliance and could be used free of charge by Westpac customers.

"Our customers are always asking us for faster, easier ways to do their banking," he said. "What we see through this [app] is we can bring to life everyday banking in a very easy to use and visual way and that really is going to take everyday banking to the next level."

Pomeroy said that not long ago augmented reality was considered a "futuristic prop" in the movies but a growing number of people believed it had the potential to change our lives as much as the internet and mobile phone.

"From the moment we saw the concept for this app in our crowdsourcing competition in the United Kingdom and started to develop it the impact augmented reality can have in adding a new dimension to mobile banking became apparent," he said.

"This is the first time it has been used for account management in banking and we see a number of possibilities for it in the future."

Pomeroy said Westpac was pushing to become "the number one digital bank in New Zealand if not the world".

"For us this is all about driving customer experience and customer engagement," he said.
Last month Westpac announced it was trialling a new digital payment system, which would allow customers to use their smartphones to make payments at electronic terminals.