It's time to move beyond innovation to normal

Innovation is not just about technology but about what people want, need and how they choose to interact and do business. That's particularly relevant for so-called 'mobile wallets', an idea that's been around a while but is now breaking through.

The real challenge is not just to come up with amazing 'inventions' but to ensure they're meeting genuine customer needs, are easily adopted and can quickly be made available to everyone.

"The best technology is so closely aligned to users' needs they stop seeing it as technology at all."
Fred Ohlsson, ANZ New Zealand's Managing Director Retail & Business Banking

In other words, to take innovation through amazing and new - and beyond cool and fashionable – into normal.

The mobile wallet could transform the way people pay for goods and services in New Zealand - and indeed around the globe - with contactless mobile payments ending the need to carry a physical wallet full of debit and credit cards and cash.

Its potential to enable people to make mobile payments anywhere, any time is genuinely exciting. But the ultimate measure of its success will be when it's considered as ordinary as the physical wallet it replaces.

The full potential of a mobile wallet can only be achieved once the wallet and terminals have been rolled out on a scale that makes it accessible to all and wallet payments so universal they are considered routine.


The best technology is so closely aligned to users' needs they stop seeing it as technology at all. It's just something that helps them get on with their lives.

To succeed, the critical stage is understanding customer needs and expectations. Fail to do this and you risk going the way of inventions like the personal transport devices once touted to transform the way cities are laid out and how people move around them - technologically great but expensive and ultimately not wanted or needed except by niche users.

But successful businesses also understand that even the new normal is not a fixed destination. Customer preferences and behaviour are constantly changing.

Regular users of an accessible, secure and easy-to-use mobile wallet will think not of the cutting edge technology behind it but the everyday coffee, petrol or groceries it enables them to buy more quickly and conveniently.

Australia has seen plenty of interest in mobile wallets, with both banks and non-banks launching a range of solutions with varying customer reach to meet the strong consumer demand.

In Europe, established applications of the technology include contactless mobile payment for on and off-street parking. From July, Apple Pay will be widely available to customers in the UK with support from major UK banks.

As a bank which has a financial relationship with one in two New Zealanders, ANZ has a particular stake in delivering this new normal.

We see contactless mobile payments as the way of the future and are ready to play a major role in making them mainstream as quickly as possible.


We recognise an important part of gaining widespread acceptance for new technology is to satisfy users that it is secure. In the case of the mobile wallet, this means using the latest encryption technology to protect customers' financial information.

Another factor businesses need to take into account when innovating to meet changing needs is that not all customers have the same requirements. In fields such as mobile payments, a 'one-size-fits-all' approach is not an option. Banks must provide solutions tailored to differing needs.

For major banks, this means offering distinct mobile solutions for every type of customer, from retail customers and small firms to the largest institutional businesses.

Users have hailed this type of technology as a game changer in enabling simpler, quicker payments on the go and, for busineses, supporting healthy cashflow. But no provider can rest on their laurels.

Successful technology is and always must be the servant of its users. The challenge for businesses everywhere is to transcend technology with solutions that are universally accepted, intuitive, and that people will want to use every day.

Just a few years ago the idea of doing your everyday banking on a mobile phone was almost unimaginable. Yet today ANZ's goMoney banking app alone is used by 500,000 New Zealanders. goMoney's success is due largely to its ease of use and regular improvements to reflect customer preferences.

By continuing to move beyond innovation to normal, we will very soon create a future where a mobile wallet is as ordinary as the leather one of today.

Fred Ohlsson is ANZ New Zealand's Managing Director Retail & Business Banking.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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