Westpac New Zealand is beginning to see the need to engage mobile consumers more effectively. As such, the bank has developed a new mobile application that leverages augmented reality. The use of this technology could put a new twist on mobile commerce, allowing people to view their bank information in a more dynamic and intuitive way. The application is currently slated for launch on the iOS platform in September of this year.
Augmented reality is typically used in marketing and entertainment due to the technology’s highly interactive nature. In these sectors, the technology has been quite successful, but it has seen limited use elsewhere. Westpac believes that the technology can provide better service to consumers that are becoming increasingly mobile-centric. The new app may appeal to those interested in mobile commerce, but it will not support mobile payments.
Those using the application can hold their payment card to the camera of the mobile device. The app will recognize the card and open a display showcasing the information associated with the card’s account. Account balance, transaction history, payment alerts, and a wealth of other valuable information will be made available through the application using augmented reality displays. The app can also be used to find the location of Westpac banks in a given area, providing users with digital directions superimposed over the real world.
How well received the app will be among consumers has yet to be seen. Augmented reality has been used very rarely in the mobile commerce space. In those rare cases, the technology has been used in “pop-up stores,” which are virtual stores that cater to commuters. These stores house no physical products, but can still make sales to those with mobile devices. Augmented reality may have relatively limited uses in the mobile commerce field.