26 September 2012

Westpac provides budget help for reluctant Kiwis

Only 22% of New Zealanders have received budget advice or training according to a new survey by Westpac.

In addition, more than 38% either don’t have time, say it takes too long, find it too hard or find it too boring to maintain a household budget, 45% either don’t know how or can’t stick to one and 32% of households experience financial difficulties on a weekly basis, according to the online survey of 750 Kiwis.

Callum Wilson, Westpac’s General Manager Strategy, Productivity and Innovation, said the results underlined how much help Kiwis need with budgeting and provided impetus for Westpac to be the first New Zealand bank to launch a mobile budget app.

“We wanted to provide something easy to use and mobile to help Kiwis get to grips better with budgeting,” Mr Wilson said.

“With the world becoming more and more mobile and customers adopting the channel strongly, an app seemed the best way to provide some practical help. We hope it allows more Kiwis to put some thought into budgeting and financial goal setting and they can access the Budget Planner when and where it suits.”

The Budget Planner is available to all New Zealanders regardless of whether they are a Westpac customer or not.

The app provides two options for creating and maintaining a budget. The first, by inputting personal data or, by customising pre-populated data options based on data from Statistics NZ. It complements the successful Impulse Saver app released by Westpac in early 2011 while users will be able to access mobile banking to set up automatic payments aligned to achieving their budget goals.

“Whether the goals are big, like saving for a house deposit or car or those nice extras like the mid-winter holiday or new wardrobe, it all starts with establishing and maintaining a budget,” Mr Wilson said. “We encourage Kiwis to use it and put some structure around their financial goal setting.”

The uptake of mobile banking by Westpac customers has grown more than 500% over the last 6 months and more than 160% over the last two months and there is now in excess of 1.2 million log ins and transactions via mobile per month.

The survey findings also highlighted the need for widening the availability of good budgeting advice with 64% of respondents saying the main source of their advice had come from parents, friends or school.

The Budget Planner follows the establishment of Westpac’s Managing Your Money workshops which provide basic financial skills that nearly 60,000 Kiwis have attended since 2006. More than 14,000 have attended a workshop in the last 12 months.

Mr Wilson said the survey findings reinforced Westpac’s view that financial literacy should be a compulsory subject on the curriculum of all New Zealand schools.



Survey Findings Fact Box (750 people online)

  • Only 22% of respondents have received budget advice or training
  • Only 24% of men and 19% of women have sought professional budget advice
  • 38% don’t have time, it takes too long, find it too hard or find it too boring to budget
  • 32% of households experience financial difficulties at least weekly

Budget App Fact Box

  • Easy to access and intuitive to use
  • Input as much personal data as preferred
  • Customise pre-populated data from Statistics NZ
  • Complements Westpac’s Impulse Saver app

Westpac mobile banking Fact Box

  • More than 72,000 users
  • 75% of users are aged between 20 – 40 years
  • More than 500% increase in use over the last six months
  • 1.2 million log ins and transactions per month via mobile