Allied Irish Bank develops app for the Apple Watch

The Allied Irish Bank (AIB) is developing an app for the Apple Watch to allow customers to check their balance and find the nearest cash machine

Allied Irish Bank (AIB) joins Apple Watch bandwagon early by developing a mobile app.

AIB joins Citi and a handful of banks pioneering Apple Watch app development.

According to an Irish Independent report, the app – which is still in development – will allow customers to check their balance, find ATMs and call AIB via the smartwatch.

Fergal Coburn, AIB's head of direct channels, said the bank wants customers to tell it what apps they want for wearable devices. 

“Most leading commentators in the emerging technology space are saying that 'wearable' technology will be big in the future across all aspects of our lives, from monitoring our health to guiding our purchases. For this reason AIB wants to know what our customers think of 'wearable' technology and, more specifically, how they would like to see AIB leverage 'wearable' to deliver exceptional customer experiences for them," said Coburn.

Read more about the Apple Watch

  • The Apple App Store already lists over 30 apps for the Apple Watch, only a day after it was confirmed the device will be on sale from 24 April. But can Apple’s new wearable device make it in the enterprise?
  • Behold, the Apple Watch. Will third-party apps make it the next big thing for the enterprise?
  • The Citi app will allow customers to check balances, provide notifications and give more detailed information about payments.

Banks swift to smartwatch technology

AIB is currently investing in digital services. In January 2015 the bank signed a five-year IT outsourcing agreement with Indian IT services supplier Wipro to free up IT resources as it attempts to transform into a digital bank. Outsourcing IT is seen as a way to cut costs and give banks the IT skills to transform operations. Banks are increasingly using modern technologies such as cloud, mobile and automation software to increase efficiency and engage customers through new channels.

Smartwatches are predicted to see significant take-up by consumers. Forrester research found 21% of adults in Europe are tired of pulling their phones from their pockets; and 32% said they were intrigued by the prospect of getting a wearable device – with 36% saying the wrist is where they would prefer to wear it.

In November 2014 the Nationwide Building Society enabled customers to check their bank balance on smartwatches with the building society’s mobile banking app. The firm partnered with IBM to develop a system to allow Android Wear users to perform banking tasks on their wearables. The smartwatch will connect to the mobile banking app to provide users with real-time updates of their balance.

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