Bringing the mobile wallet experience to Aotearoa, New Zealand.
What you need to know
Open banking practices and real time payment networks are helping revolutionise financial services around the world, however, New Zealand is lagging behind on both these developments.
● New Zealand has some barriers to overcome before it can join the open banking revolution. These include facilitating better sharing of customers’ bank data with third parties and making it easier for new entrants to compete in the banking sector.
● Dosh is the first mobile wallet in New Zealand, giving Kiwis greater freedom and control through ease of payments, Request to Pay, instant access, and faster movement of money.
● Dosh real time payments offer a convenient alternative to slow bank to bank transfers and inefficient cash payments.
● Dosh has numerous use cases, including fast and efficient cash transfers between young professionals and retail transactions; it could play a role in helping disadvantaged Kiwis receive hardship payments immediately.
● A partnership with Visa has led to the creation of the Dosh Debit Card. The card allows Dosh users to receive money 24/7, and use those funds to pay merchants via Visa enabled payment terminals. A debit card connected to a real time payments network is a first in New Zealand.
● Dosh is a leader in card rewards, offering the country's first debit card cash back proposition. In addition, Dosh offers regular one day specials and ongoing cashback deals at selected merchants.
● The Dosh wallet is the start of a product pipeline that includes loyalty programmes, international transfers and other innovative financial services.
1. Introduction: the slow adoption of open banking
The big banks have played an important role in maintaining the integrity of our financial system, however international experience suggests New Zealand is overdue for disruption in its banking sector. New Zealand’s fintech industry generated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2021, offers high-paying salaries and is outstripping growth in the tech sector in general.
“While we are already seeing a diversity of fintechs in, for example, the crytpo/NFT, insurance and payments domains, we are just beginning to see the promise of open finance focused companies appearing here,” notes Jason Roberts, Executive Director, FintechNZ.
“Perhaps these are the ones to watch in the coming years as they are certainly attracting enormous attention worldwide. Will these be our next high growth, high value companies?” he adds.
Open banking will give New Zealanders more control over their finances and options for third-party services that reimagine the banking experience. It’s an exciting time for the industry and Dosh arrives on the scene determined to deliver a world-class user experience with the convenience, security and integrity New Zealanders expect from a financial services provider.
1.2 A seachange in finance is underway - overseas
Pragmatic regulatory approaches to data sharing and aggregation have allowed innovation in open banking to thrive, offering customers the ability to easily grant permission for their financial information to be used to provide third-party services, often via these superapps.
In addition, most advanced nations across the world have enabled real-time payment processing between banks, allowing third-party applications to facilitate instant funds transfers. It means that a WeChat user can scan a QR code and immediately pay for a coffee in the same app she is using to chat with her friends. No credit or debit card is needed.
Currently, New Zealand banks settle payment transactions on weekdays every 60 minutes during business hours, but transfers between banks can take up to four hours and transactions made on weekends and public holidays won’t be processed until the next business day.
New Zealand banks will move to processing electronic payments 365 days a year from next April. However, enabling real-time transactions appears to be years away. That leaves New Zealand as one of only two nations in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) without real-time transaction processing in place. Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP) has allowed real-time interbank account-to-account payment fund transfers since February 2018.
2.0 Dosh – an open banking pioneer
Launched in late 2021, Dosh is pioneering open banking in New Zealand. Together with a small group of other fintechs, including Akahu and Blinkpay, Dosh is utilising API connections with banks to deliver new innovative services.
When founders, Shane Marsh and James McEniery were Kiwi neighbours working in Singapore, they’d grown used to the ease of use of digital platforms Singaporeans had adopted to pay for things and transfer money.
The big player in Singapore is Grab, a so-called ‘superapp’ that allows everything from ride-hailing and grocery deliveries to online banking, insurance services and in-store payments, all in one easy-to-use app. China has taken the superapp concept to a whole new level with WeChat and AliPay facilitating financial transactions for hundreds of millions of people every day. In China, banks have effectively become infrastructure providers with the front-end user experience provided by a rich ecosystem of innovative fintech players.
Across Asia, nations are leaping ahead of western countries with innovative, well-regulated apps offering an experience that contrasts starkly with the outmoded and clunky platforms of the traditional banking players. From India’s Paytm service to Indonesia’s Gojek, around 2.4 billion people use their smartphones each month to make financial transactions.
When McEniery and Marsh opted to return to New Zealand amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic, they decided to create Dosh to bring some of that convenience and innovation to New Zealand’s financial services market.
2.2 How Dosh works
An iPhone or Android smartphone loaded with the Dosh app enables users to transfer money from a bank account, hold funds and then make payments to anyone with a New Zealand mobile phone. Payments to phone contacts who have the Dosh app are instant, 24/7, with both parties receiving instant notification of funds sent and received.
In addition to instant payments, loyalty discounts are offered on purchases and the user experience is more akin to that which smartphone users have grown accustomed to in virtually every other aspect of the digital world.
The instant real-time transactions use existing banking infrastructure and is facilitated by its proprietary mobile wallet. Payments are made to mobile phone numbers between users of the Dosh mobile wallet, removing the need for users to swap bank account numbers.
Dosh has also formed a partnership with Visa to provide a Dosh Card to all users. This debit card, followed soon by a fully integrated digital card, will work on Visa enabled payment terminals- opening almost the entire retail sector for Dosh payments. Users will have the option to split the transaction amount between friends via the Dosh app, and be paid back instantly.
The use cases for Dosh are as many as there are transactions. If you have flat bills to divvy up, you can do it instantly via Dosh Request to Pay, sending a message to each flatmate with the amount they need to transfer. If you are out for dinner, Dosh makes splitting the bill easier, with everyone transferring their share to the Dosh user who settles the tab. Sold something on Trade Me? Rather than waiting for a bank transfer to clear before you mail off the goods, you could receive a Dosh payment instantly.
Dosh is free for consumers to open an account, add a card and make transactions to other users.
3.0 Security is central to Dosh
Dosh is a registered financial services provider in New Zealand, regulated by the Department of Internal Affairs.
The funds in a Dosh account are securely held in a trust account at a registered New Zealand Bank. These funds are only moved on the wallet owner’s instructions via the app, and Dosh does not invest these funds for a financial return.
Dosh has designed the app to have multiple security and safety measures to protect users’ money. It has all the safety features expected of a modern financial app, including PIN and biometric thumbprint or face ID features. Dosh is built using most recent Java and Java Script technologies and is tested against all the best practices recommended by OWASP. The platform and its operation are compliant with the GSMA Mobile Money assessment framework to ensure the security and the integrity of each account and transaction.
Dosh is compliant with all New Zealand laws and regulations for a financial services provider. It engaged New Zealand’s leading experts to ensure it is meeting the highest levels of regulations set to protect individuals and businesses.
4.0 Use case - GenZ
GenZ want convenience and ease, and they want it now. Dosh delivers directly into this segment by empowering its users to better manage their financial affairs by staying on top of payments, enhancing communication around transactions, and offering better visibility into payments and balances through its easy-to-navigate user interface.
Instead of entering long bank account numbers, setting up new payees, and putting up with banking delays, Dosh offers an instant way to move money for the generation that expects better from banking. GenZ is tech-savvy, open-minded and less likely to accept antiquated systems without question. Dosh provides easy, instant access to and control over their hard-earned money.
The arrival of the Dosh Debit Card in collaboration with Visa unlocks an entirely new level of money management. Dosh users can order the Dosh Visa Debit Card for free via the Dosh app. Once the card has been activated, customers can spend funds from their Dosh mobile wallet anywhere that accepts Visa. Only available funds can be spent; users are not able to go into debt with the Dosh Card, helping to embed prudent spending habits.
Friends catching up over a restaurant meal or after work drinks need no longer be out of pocket. The bill can be paid with the Dosh Visa Debit Card, then split out instantly on the spot from the app. Now, everyone can pay what they owe, instantly. The Dosh Visa Debit Card also saves our long-suffering hospitality industry time and admin, by completely eradicating the need to split bills between multiple parties at the till.
5.0 Use case - Send money to your teenager instantly with Dosh for Teens
Dosh for Teens presents parents with an easy, instant way to send money to their teen, at any time of the day. Whether it’s lunch from the school Tuck Shop, money for a bus ride home, sushi at the mall or an ice cream from the dairy after an afternoon at the beach with their friends.
As with all Dosh users, teenaged customers can order the Dosh Debit Card via their app and spend from the available funds in their Dosh account anywhere Visa is accepted. Dosh for Teens permits teenagers to be treated like the young adults they are, with a level of freedom and independence over how they spend money they might earn from babysitting, lawn-mowing or part-time waitering.
When paying with the Dosh Visa Debit Card after an evening at the movies or gaming arcade, teens can simply split the bill between their friends via the Dosh app. Dosh is available for those aged 13 and over with a valid NZ Passport, Birth Certificate or NZ Driver’s License. Set them up in a couple of minutes and give them the security, independence and control they want.
6.0 Use case – addressing financial hardship
Dosh’s ability to make instantaneous money transfers could help the most vulnerable in society get access to welfare payments when they most need them.
The Ministry of Social Development may grant hardship assistance for people with insufficient income and assets, and who have immediate and specific needs that cannot be met by their own resources.
During the pandemic, Inland Revenue issued billions of dollars in Covid-19 relief payments as lockdowns forced businesses to close and hundreds of thousands of workers to stay at home. More recently, the agency also sent out $350 worth of Cost-of-Living payments to 2.1 million middle and low-income earners.
All of those transactions rely on transactions via bank transfer, which are not real-time in nature. It means that a person in need of financial support could be left stranded for anything from a few hours to several days while they wait for a government relief payment to go through. With SMS messaging built into Dosh, more targeted communication can be facilitated to ensure the right people get the right payments.
Here’s how Dosh can speed that process up to put money in the hands of those that need it fast.
Getting hardship payments into the hands of Kiwis - fast
1. An SMS message from MSD is sent to the mobile phone number of a welfare recipient with details of the payment to be made and a link to download the Dosh app if they do not yet have it installed on their phone.
2. The user sets up their Dosh account and completes a two-minute identity verification process in-app.
3. The welfare payment is instantly available in the Dosh app for the verified user to transfer to another Dosh wallet, or to use to pay in-store or online at any Visa-enabled merchant.
4. The welfare recipient can take advantage of discounts from affiliated Dosh partners (supermarkets, chemists, restaurants etc) when they pay with their Dosh Visa Debit Card.
Dosh could also facilitate faster and easier payments to government departments and local councils, with speeding fines, tax payments and dog registrations able to be handled via the Dosh app. This would offer an additional channel to engage New Zealanders with government services and reduce the chance of them being penalised for late payment of fees and fines.
Not every welfare beneficiary in New Zealand has access to a bank account. But we are a smartphone-first nation, with mobile phone penetration at 114% of the population in 2021.
With the cost of living soaring and the potential for more pandemic disruption to businesses, Dosh has a ready-made solution to getting money into the hands of New Zealanders quickly and safely.
7.0 Dosh’s wider potential
Dosh has the potential to become a superapp in its own right. It starts with building an ecosystem that a wide range of partners can participate in. For example, Dosh Deals offers region-specific promotions and discounts, allowing Dosh to become a customer loyalty platform for any business.
Dosh also plans to enable instant international transfers between Dosh wallet users, allowing lower-cost remittances, putting money in the hands of friends and family overseas with greater ease than current bank and wire transfer services offer.
In future, Dosh could increasingly provide bank-like services, such as interest-generating savings accounts offering a convenient, low-cost alternative to a standard bank account. The era of true open banking will extend and enhance the range of financial services currently available to New Zealanders.
A key differentiator for Dosh is the user experience. Inspired by the frictionless experiences of the superapps, Dosh’s aim is to make payments and money transfers as seamless as possible, with elements of personalisation and communication that mirror the smartphone app experience users have grown accustomed to.
8.0 What New Zealand needs for true open banking
What Dosh currently offers consumers and businesses is a New Zealand first, leveraging clever technology while accommodating current financial systems which rely on having an account with one of the big banks.
The next step in the evolution of banking and finance will take choice and competition to another level by removing the current barriers preventing innovators from entering the sector.
The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment is currently developing the Consumer Data Right (CDR) which will mandate the approved sharing of access to customers’ banking data with non-bank institutions. The CDR will be backed by legislation due to be introduced into the New Zealand Parliament in late 2022 and will mirror similar regulations in place in Australia, the UK and numerous other countries.
In practice, the CDR will allow access to data via a series of standardised application programming interfaces (APIs). It could, for instance, offer real-time bank account balances and details of historical bank transactions to be used to present information in a third-party financial planning app. Using this data, existing service providers could expand the range of services they offer, while new players could offer value-added services, improving the customer experience and giving consumers more visibility into their financial affairs in the process.
In the world of open banking, the existing banks and financial institutions won’t go away. Instead, they will enable a host of new services to thrive, by unlocking their customers’ data and offering the infrastructure enabling new applications. In the same way Xero has built a large ecosystem of apps around its accounting platform drawing on the data a small business generates, open banking could make third-party use of bank data the basis of services that become a part of Kiwis’ day-to-day lives.
“In general then, while starting behind these other markets, there is a real opportunity for New Zealand to move quickly, leverage their experience and catch up,” Deloitte Digital notes in New Zealand Fintech Pulsecheck: Open Banking and Beyond.
“Operating at our smaller scale there is even no reason New Zealand shouldn’t be able to overtake Australia and the UK and become world leading in this space.”
9.0 Making it easier to be a bank
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is responsible for registering and overseeing banks in New Zealand under the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989.
The country’s banking regulations have the stated purpose of “promoting the maintenance of a sound and efficient financial system”.
But New Zealand’s Banking Prudential Requirements are much more stringent than in other countries around the world. For instance, a locally incorporated bank is required to have a minimum of NZ$30 million in capital from when it is first registered. This is to ensure the bank has sufficient substance to carry on business as a registered bank.
It means that typical bank-like services such as saving and lending facilities, can only be offered by very large organisations who can meet the high capital threshold. It is for this reason that most New Zealanders transact with a small number of banks that control their experience of financial services and the fees associated with using them. No one wants a registered bank to fail, putting depositors' funds at risk in the process. But the capital requirement for establishing a bank and associated regulations could be holding the New Zealand banking sector back.
Revising the regulations would allow smaller players to offer banking services in one place, maintaining financial stability while allowing viable alternatives, including low-cost digital banks, to become a part of New Zealand’s banking landscape.
10.0 Conclusion: Dosh delivers financial freedom now
With the Dosh app offering instant 24/7 payments, split bills, cashback rewards and more, New Zealanders now have a world-class alternative to traditional banking systems.
But Dosh has plans to be so much more. As New Zealand’s open banking environment matures, Dosh will offer a wider range of services and attractive alternatives to the traditional banks.
Dosh is a fintech start-up with big ambitions to bring choice and competition to financial services. Visit Dosh.nz to find out how to download and set up your Dosh mobile wallet. Experience greater freedom and control through ease of payments, instant access, and faster movement of your money, with Dosh.