Tamsyn Parker

Money Editor for NZ Herald

Women and over 55s take lead in online KiwiSaver top-ups

Nick Stanhope, ASB executive general manager wealth and insurance.
Nick Stanhope, ASB executive general manager wealth and insurance.

One of the country's largest KiwiSaver providers says it may look to tailor its services for women after it received a surge in females transferring money to their KiwiSaver accounts after making the service available online.

ASB bank, which manages around $4.1 billion of the $19.9 billion in KiwiSaver, began allowing online transfers from bank accounts to its KiwiSaver accounts on June 8.

Previously people had to visit a branch, write out a cheque or use an online bill payment service to make one-off payments into their KiwiSaver account.

The bank found 59 per cent of those making the payments were women by number of transactions and 56 per cent by value.

The average value of the payments across both men and women was $543.67.

Typically June is a busy month for people to top up their KiwiSaver accounts as June 30 is the cut off to get the Government's annual contribution.

If savers put in $1043 in the year to June 30 they can get $521 from the Government or if they put in less the Government matches a members' $1 contribution with 50c up to the $1043 cut off.

The bank also found the payments swung towards the older generation with 41 per cent of the value of all the payments made by people aged 55 and over.

Nick Stanhope, ASB executive general manager wealth and insurance, said it had decided to open up online KiwiSaver payments after receiving elevated interest in KiwiSaver following the bank's decision to show account balances alongside people's other accounts for online banking.

"We noticed when we put balances online we got a lot more interest from people - more conversations about KiwiSaver in the contact centre and branches."

Stanhope said the bank was keen to use the data gathered through online transactions to help support people to get more involved in their retirement savings.

"What do we need to do to ensure we provide access for women? Do they want to do their transactions differently to men?"

The bank is also in the process of launching a tool to help people work out whether they are in the right type of KiwiSaver fund for them.

Stanhope said the online tool would allow people to assess their risk profile and put themselves into a different fund at the click of a button without having to call the contact centre or visit a branch.

He said the bank would be interested to see how many people used the tool and then switched funds based on the recommendations.

The tool is part of new government requirements on default KiwiSaver providers to boost the financial literacy of their members as part of new contracts which kicked in on July 1.

- NZ Herald

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