Moven heads offshore, inks deal with Westpac NZ

New York-based Moven has always seen itself as a disruptor of banking, but now it's partnering with them.
Written by Rob O'Neill, Contributor on

Mobile money management tool developer Moven has signed its first bank customer outside the US, and is poised for further global expansion.

Speaking in New Zealand, where Moven has inked a deal with Westpac NZ, founder and CEO Brett King said an announcement about opening for business in Canada would follow.

Moven CEO Brett King

Westpac NZ's deal with Moven is exclusive for four years, depending on success. The bank will roll features out on its new online banking platform, for smartphones first, from October. In 2015, the tools will become available across other platforms.

Westpac NZ's chief digital officer Simon Pomeroy said Moven will allow customers to use data in a more personal way.

"This is a clear differentiator for Westpac NZ," he said. The Moven product will be white labelled and branded with Wespac's logos.

Moven develops tools that gamify the management of personal finances. One of the first applications to be rolled out by Westpac will compare a user's spending in the current month against their spending history.

"It's about simplicity and reducing friction," Pomeroy said.

The startup has been seen widely as a disruptor of banking.

"When we started this journey, we wanted to be the equivalent of the Kindle or iTunes for banking," King said. However, it is at the front end, in distribution rather than in products, that disruption is happening.

Moven is looking to banks as partners to support its goal of winning 10 million customers for its tools in the next two years. It has also inked a deal with a US bank.

"Our objective is to get as many people as possible around the world using our tools everyday," King said. Westpac NZ delivers a ready-made customer base.

King said cards have "dumbed down" financial awareness, and do not give customers enough information. They give two pieces of feedback: "Yes" and "no".

Moven, he said, delivers data insights or tools that start to look like advice, answering day-to-day questions such as: "Can I afford to buy?"

He said that Moven is targeting a different behavioural set of customers from those that budget, who only account for around 15 percent of the population.

New Zealand was chosen, he said, because it has high penetration of smartphones and contactless payments infrastructure. Moven's real-time feedback technology is a natural marriage with that.

Also, there is a high demand for financial awareness and wellness in New Zealand.

Real-time receipts and the ability to drill down into spending categories are also being rolled out early.

Founded in 2011, with its commercial launch taking place in late 2013, Moven recently secured $8 million of funding to expand into new markets.

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