Westpac, Virgin Australia sign Digital Mailbox deals

Westpac and Virgin Australia have both entered strategic partnership agreements with Australia Post’s MyPost Digital Mailbox service.

Westpac Banking Corporation and Virgin Australia have both inked partnership deals with Australia Post's MyPost Digital Mailbox operation this week.

Westpac's new strategic partnership will see the bank become a participant in the MyPost Digital Mailbox service, while Australia Post will use Westpac's card-acquiring services for transactions.

For Australia Post's managing director and CEO, Ahmed Fahour, the deal will see his organisation's customers able to tap into Westpac's card transaction technology for Australia Post transactions.

"Using Westpac's industry leading card acquiring capability, Australia Post customers will benefit from fast, secure and reliable card transactions," said Fahour. "Through the digital mailbox, Westpac will be able to provide its customers with access to their mail including statements, bills and important correspondence."

According to Brian Hartzer, chief executive of Westpac's Australian financial services division, the deal complements the bank's growing digital services portfolio.

"Australia Post is one of the country's top three merchants and its decision to use our card acquiring services in post offices nationally is a huge coup for us and a great fit for our two companies," said Hartzer. "This is also why we believe the digital mailbox service, where you can receive and store key personal information such as financial statements, fits in exactly with what we are offering our customers through Westpac's exciting new digital services."

Westpac customers will be able to access the service in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty program customers will be able to earn points on MyPost Digital Mailbox transactions, under the new deal the airline has struck with Australia Post.

According to an Australia Post spokesperson, the first stage of the partnership will see Velocity Frequent Flyer offer its members the ability to earn points on regular bill payments and other online transactions through the Digital Mailbox service.

Later this year, it is intended that members of the loyalty program will also be able to receive their monthly Velocity statements securely through the online mail platform.

"We are proud to be partnering with one of Australia's most iconic brands to deliver greater value for Australians on essential services," said Virgin Australia CEO, John Borghetti. "While Australia Post is one of Australia's oldest companies, it is now leading the way with innovative self-service tools and maintains a strong affinity with its loyal customer base."

According to Australia Post, its MyPost business has already got some of Australia's biggest brands behind it, including Telstra, AMP, and Sydney Water. Its arch-rival in the market, Computershare's Digital Post Australia, has previously claimed to have around 1,000 businesses using its service to digitally distribute essential mail material, such as bills and statements.

However, in April, the US-based startup behind the Digital Post Australia platform infrastructure, Zumbox, announced it would pull the plug on its service after running into financial difficulties.

"At this point, the time and cost required to deliver on the vision is more than the market is prepared to invest," the company wrote in an email to users in early April.

At the time, Computershare indicated that its Digital Post Australia platform had ongoing access to the live system and contractual protection going forward.

Both Australia Post's and Computershare's digital mail platforms differ from traditional email in that they work directly with organisations that post essential mail to customers, and allow users to pay bills via the platforms themselves.