Sunday 21 July 2019

KBC leads way with multibank move


KBC has pursued a strategy of offering digital-friendly services
KBC has pursued a strategy of offering digital-friendly services
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

KBC has become the first major Irish bank to let its customers see current account balances from rival banks within its app.

KBC has made the changes following the implementation of the European Payments Services Directive, which compels banks to offer more competition and services to their customers.

It means that KBC customers who hold an AIB or Bank of Ireland current account can now view their balance from those banks in the KBC app.

However, it is limited to AIB and Bank of Ireland, with no availability for Ulster Bank or Permanent TSB.

KBC is the first major bank to offer the service in the Irish market.

"Over the coming year we will add more features," said Kelvin Gillen of KBC Bank Ireland.

Mr Gillen said that this will include "the ability to view transactions and initiate payments among others".

Under the European Payments Services Directive, European banks are required to make current accounts details available to authorised third parties. Other payment methods are expected to emerge in time.

KBC has pursued a strategy of offering digital-friendly services rather than physical branches in Ireland, of which it has 16.

It is currently the only bank in Ireland to offer Apple Pay, Google Pay, FitBit Pay and Garmin Pay.

Meanwhile, there is still no sign that the country's second-largest bank, Bank Of Ireland, is to introduce any mobile payment options.

Bank Of Ireland is the only Irish bank not to offer the mobile options, which are now widely used in the Irish market. A spokesman for Bank Of Ireland said that the bank would, in time, update "features and functionality" for its customers. "While we are not in a position to confirm timings, we intend to integrate phone payments in the future," he said.

"We will launch our new mobile banking app later this year, providing customers with improved functionality. We will continue to update the app with new digital features and functionality, enhancing customers' experience."

The bank has been widely criticised for being behind on the implementation of modern payment systems and IT functionality.

This week, Apple announced a significant expansion of Apple Pay within the US.

There are also expectations that the mobile payment service will be introduced in Slovakia and the Czech Republic this Spring.

The service is not available in all EU countries, with Austria, Greece, Hungary and Romania not supported by local banks.

Meanwhile, Google recently received the all-clear from the Central Bank to issue and acquire payments under the same European Payments Services Directive as KBC is using for its new services.

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