Wednesday, 11 November 2015 13:55

Westpac launches card activation using a smartphone camera

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Westpac has launched card activation via mobile which allows the bank’s customers to activate a new debit or credit card using their smartphone camera.

The new activation service utilises state-of-the-art Optical Character Recognition technology, and Westpac is claiming it’s the first Australian bank to enable customers to activate a new debit or credit card “conveniently and securely” with their smartphone camera.

With today’s launch of the service, Westpac customers are now able switch on their new credit or debit card via the bank’s Mobile Banking app on their iPhone or Android smartphone.

The bank says the ”innovative feature” activates the card in three simple steps by prompting customers to scan their card, confirm the card details captured are correct, and tap to activate.

Westpac card activation by smartphone camera is available for Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards and Debit MasterCard cards from this month (November), along with the Quick Balance feature on Apple Watch.

According to Mike Wood, Westpac’s Chief Information Officer Consumer Bank,  the card activation via mobile is part of the bank’s ongoing commitment to ”harness innovative new technology to make customers’ lives easier”.

“We want to make mobile banking as easy and convenient as possible for our customers and that’s why we have launched card activation by smartphone camera. The new feature is a timesaver for our customers who can activate their card when and where it suits them without the need to call customer service, visit a local branch or manually type in card numbers.

 “With over two million debit and credit cards activated by our customers in the past year alone, we are delighted to be the first financial institution to offer customers a simple solution that is safe and secure via the Westpac Mobile Banking app. Card activation via mobile is another demonstration of Westpac’s commitment to providing new and improved solutions to service customers’ everyday needs.”

The launch of card activation by smartphone camera coincides with the availability of Quick Balance on the Apple Watch when paired with the Westpac Banking app for iPhone. The new Quick Balance feature allows customers to quickly swipe their Apple Watch screen to see their account balance without the need to log in to Westpac mobile banking.

Westpac card activation by smartphone camera will be available for Visa, MasterCard® and American Express™ credit cards and Debit MasterCard cards from November 2015, along with the Quick Balance feature on Apple Watch.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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