Westpac launches payments keyboard for chat apps

Westpac Keyboard
ALL KEYED UP: The Westpac Keyboard enables P2P money transfers on messaging apps

Customers of Australian bank Westpac will soon be able to use an innovative replacement for the default keyboard found in social messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to make P2P money transfers to friends, family and businesses as well as send cardless cash codes to recipients for ATM withdrawals.

Westpac employees are also trialling a device designed to add NFC payments to any wearable which will become available to customers later this year, the bank’s consumer banking CEO George Frazis has told the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

“Effectively, what we have done is combined the antenna and the chip into one element that you can then put into any accessory that is convenient for the customer,” Frazis says. “This has unlimited potential for fitting in with whatever your lifestyle is.”

The Westpac Keyboard feature — built using technology supplied by Israeli startup PayKey — works through an integration with existing messaging apps to add banking options to the bottom of the screen of the chat app.

It gives customers three options — Pay Anyone, which allows money transfers; Cardless Cash, which allows cardless cash codes to be sent to recipients for ATM withdrawals; and the option to share your BSB and account number with others.

Everyday transactions

“The Westpac Keyboard is an extension of the Westpac Live iPhone and Mobile Banking app and is activated via iOS device settings,” the bank says. “It provides a tailored keyboard to enable some everyday transactions, which you can perform without leaving their message. You can enjoy the security of using your own bank account to pay friends directly within any of your favourite applications.

“To install the Westpac Keyboard, open the Westpac Live Mobile Banking app and tap the menu button in the top left of the screen. Select ‘Westpac Keyboard’ and follow the prompts. You are not able to add a new Payee or make first time payments to new Payees using the Westpac Keyboard. You will need to sign in to Westpac Live Online Banking or the Mobile Banking app to add a new Payee.

“This means the first Pay Anyone payment you make to a newly added Payee is required to be made within Westpac Live Online Banking or Mobile Banking. Once that first payment is made within Online Banking or Mobile Banking, subsequent payments to that Payee can be made using the Westpac Keyboard.”

Westpac is one of four of the country’s biggest banks currently battling for access to the NFC technology within Apple’s iPhone handsets.

“From our perspective, at this stage we are not seeing any negative impact as a result of not providing Apple Pay,” Frazis told AFR. “Our approach is to provide customers with choice. We are not dictating to our customers how they should live their lives, or how they should make payments or what they can integrate into their wallets.”