Nationwide quick off the mark with Apple Watch banking app

Nationwide claims to be the first high street finance firm to offer an Apple Watch app

Nationwide Building Society is promoting its digital credentials with the launch of a banking app for the Apple Watch, which it developed alongside IBM. 

Users can quickly check their account balance on the app by swiping the screen. According to a Nationwide survey, people are more likely to check their account balance (44%) while on the move than check their work email (34%) or update their diary (34%).

“The app will give our customers even greater choice about how they manage their money while on the move, demonstrating our commitment to doing business on our members’ terms, not ours,” said Nationwide retail strategy director Barnaby Davis.

The Apple Watch app is an extension of Nationwide’s Quick Balance feature on its mobile banking app, which allows customers secure and immediate access to their account balance. This has been used more than 37 million times since launching in June 2014.

Nationwide collaborated with IBM’s digital arm in the UK, known as IBM Interactive Experience, to develop the Apple Watch app. According to IBM senior managing consultant Elizabeth Thornewill, the digital agency "uses data to create transformative experiences that fuse the physical and digital worlds".

Nationwide is eager to develop its digital offering. As well as a 24-hour service to address customer questions via Twitter, the building society also provides technology to enable mortgage consultants to meet customers via high-definition video links using Cisco technology. 

Mortgage consultants at Nationwide’s contact centre in Northampton can carry out virtual mortgage meetings with customers across 60 branches. These consultations are the same as those carried out face-to-face in branches.

Underpinning everything is IT implemented as part of a massive IT transformation. In 2008, Nationwide embarked on a £1bn project to transform its technology after years of under-investment, which is typical in the financial services sector. The project involved upgrading its datacentre, outsourcing IT for the first time, and implementing Microsoft technology in the front office and SAP at the back.

Nationwide claims to be the first UK high street finance firm to launch an Apple Watch app. In April 2015 Tesco Bank made it possible for customers to view their account balance on the wearable device. It also updated its mobile banking app with a Balance Peek feature to enable quicker and easier balance viewing from iPhones.

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