redy, set, watch BEN’s innovation
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank today will claim an Australian technology first - a financial transaction enacted by a wearable device.
Chief Executive of Bendigo subsidiary Community Telco Australia, David Joss, will use his Samsung Gear 2 smart watch to buy an afternoon tea in a transaction directed through another Bendigo innovation, a mobile payment system that also credits customers with reward dollars they can redirect to community projects.
These innovations are part of a quiet technology revolution being driven by a bank perhaps best-known for its 16-year roll-out of locally owned Community Bank branches. While Community Banking itself is innovative and remains unique in the world, the bank's technology advances put it at the forefront of payments innovation - so much so that Samsung's vice president of enterprise and small and midsize business (SMB) for Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, Craig Gledhill, recently declared Bendigo to be "at the forefront of payment system developments internationally".
Little recognised is Bendigo's achievement in completing the bank/telco/switch triumvirate necessary for success in the rapidly evolving world of digital banking and payments. Bendigo established its wholly owned Community Telco Australia and helped establish and remains a shareholder in payments switch company Strategic Payments Services (SPS). Bendigo has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Samsung to develop mobile payment systems for the Australian market.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank already has a patent pending for its redy payment system. Launched in June, "redy brings a cutting technology edge to our focus on building communities," said Bendigo's Executive Customer Voice, Marnie Baker.
"Our bank is built on responding to customer needs and helping its communities to prosper and here we have a device that does both by enabling customers to donate a percentage of the redy transaction fee to the charity or cause of their choosing. We are leveraging the power of aggregated micro-payments to help communities source new funding streams via a form of crowd funding.
"redy also acts as an effective ‘shop locally' initiative, retaining capital in local markets rather than see it leaking into internet sales."
redy is today being extended to provide the ultimate in consumer convenience with a wearable solution on a Samsung watch. "We believe that this is the first time that a Bank has released a wearable solution that allows consumers to complete a payment at the point of sale," Ms Baker said.
Bendigo also recently launched one of Australia's first small mobile EFTPOS devices for businesses that want to take payments on the go.
Provided in conjunction with Quest Payment Systems and SPS, Bendigo microPay uses new technology that makes accepting card payments more portable and easier for both the business operator and their customers.
Ms Baker said: "Bendigo microPay is a pocket-sized, lightweight payment card reader that connects to any network, giving business owners more freedom and connectivity than ever before."
"This is a great tool for market stall-holders, tradesmen or other mobile businesses, as they'll be able to receive payments on the spot while offering their customers greater convenience."
Bendigo Bank's customers will also see a bespoke mobile electronic banking platform launch in September. "Mobile is our quickest growing device for accessing electronic banking services, so we went out and asked our customers what it should include and what it should look like," Ms Baker said. "The first release includes their feedback and we plan regular releases based on user experience and continued feedback from our customers."
Ms Baker said Bendigo and Adelaide Bank was "acutely aware" of the changing banking landscape and the need to remain relevant.
"We are coming off a great technology base. We are running a really smart customer relationship management system which provides us with a single view of our customers' holdings and their relationship with the Bank.
"And as is evident from the likes of redy and Bendigo Micropay, our unique stable of assets is enabling us to innovate and leap ahead of the pack in some instances - usually through partnering with smart technology companies like Samsung and Community Telco.
"These innovations are all part of our strategy to be a good bank but to be bigger than that in ways that surprise and hopefully delight people."
The smart watch transaction
The transaction will be performed at Bendigo business and redy merchant, The Wholesome Bean.
Ms Baker said: "We believe that we are the first Bank to launch a wearable payments solution that fully completes a transaction.
"We have been able to do this because of the unique way that we have developed the redy payment solution using QR codes at the point of sale."
redy passes no identifying information from consumer to merchant at the point of sale. The consumer opens the app. The merchant creates a QR code offering the item for the agreed price and the offer is sent to the redy server. The consumer scans the code and their phone tells the server the offer is accepted. The server matches the two pieces of information and completes the transaction. This protects the consumer's identity because the merchant has not captured any personal information about them. It is also highly secure.
David Joss said: "just as mobile phones are becoming more commonplace as payment devices, there is little doubt that wearable technology is the next extension of the customer's mobility experience.
"Although only released for the Samsung Gear 2 at this stage, we will continue to develop for wearable technologies as they continue to enter the market.
"We have an extensive roadmap of developments that will be released through redy over time."