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New Zealand to Adopt Its First Digital Wallet App

Paying people instantly via smartphone is commonplace around the world; there are 45 real-time payments networks globally and 13 currently in production. New Zealand is not one of them. After several years in Singapore, Kiwi tech developers returned home to launch the country’s first digital wallet app.

After years away, the developers are seeing how everyday Kiwis pay and receive money seems outdated, slow, inconvenient and costly. Experts say that many on returning home are more aware of markets that are far more developed in fintech, AI and digital identity. New Zealand is playing catch up. However, that might all change with companies starting to launch digital wallets.

According to the tech developer, the easiest and fastest way to pay and be paid in other leading countries is by a mobile payment app. New Zealanders do not have this option today and they are looking forward to bringing this technology to Kiwi smartphones.

The digital wallet app will be New Zealand’s first fully integrated, instant, and secure contactless mobile payment platform benefitting all involved parties. It will be free for consumers and offer significantly lower merchant fees. The digital wallet app not only enables instant payments via smartphone but allows users to split a bill, pay someone back, earn rewards and redeem special offers.

To make a person-to-person payment, Kiwis must enter a 16-digit bank account number into their online banking platform, then wait for funds to clear. To note, New Zealand has one of the highest merchant services fees in the developed world.

Recent COVID-19 lockdowns have seen retailers revert to contactless number 8 wire payment solutions, ranging from manual bank account input to IOUs. With over 50 platforms either already in use or being built, the way people pay will change forever. They are aiming to make payments simple which will be very refreshing for Kiwis, says the tech developer.

With 90.2% penetration of smartphone users in New Zealand and a trend of early adoption to tech and digital disruption, experts say that the tech will deliver its promise to everyone in everyday financial transactions.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, disruptive technologies have been revolutionising traditional financial services for some time now, providing opportunities for digital innovators and e-commerce entrepreneurs.  Online offerings allow wider coverage and access to underbanked demographics and ensure remote transactions in general.

Beyond a doubt, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the role of fintech in the banking landscape. The coronavirus has also significantly affected the New Zealand financial sector and the economy accordingly to New Zealand fintech experts. While the impact has started to be felt, it is not known in what way and for how long these effects will last. There are a plethora of ways the virus could change the fintech landscape across industries.

Some sectors are obvious – like insurance. The pandemic has generated a keener awareness of the need for insurance, increasing demand for health and life coverage, business interruption and cancellations of sport, music, conference and events.

But the main transition is the way the financial sector is going to be affected by fintech and online offerings. Companies with digital products are already doing well during this time and online banking is likely to be the new normal. Traditional banks transform as well as be prepared to support their customers that may not be familiar with digital products and procedures – and, in some cases, not even have the right devices, like smartphones.

Disruptive technology has given rise to new avenues of funding and access to resources that traditional banks did not offer and may not have encouraged. New Zealand’s peer-to-peer lending (P2P) and equity crowdfunding sectors experienced steady growth in the last year, according to data from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).


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