Westpac wants to take over your messaging keyboard

  • Payments , Banking
  • 21.03.2017 12:15 pm

Westpac is working with Israeli-based startup PayKey on technology to add banking options to the bottom of a screen on a messaging app.

PayKey has been doing the rounds of startup contests over the past year, graduating from the MasterCard StartPath and BBVA Open talent programme, winning a Santander 'Pitch Slam' event in Israel, and currently going through an accelerator programme with India's Yes Bank. 

The firm, which recently raised $6 million in Series A funding, enables banks to provide their users with peer to peer payment options through any social and messaging platform. PayKey's keyboard app bridges the gap between bank applications and social networks by adding optional banking icons to the bottom of the screen during in-app conversations.

Santander is running a number of trails of the technology across its global network having participated in Paykey's latest funding round. Now Westpace is trying out the technology - under the brand name Westpac Keyboard - as part of a drive into new payments territory, including the development of wearable devices.

The tie-up with PayKey was reported in the Australian Financial Review in a chat with Westpac's consumer banking chief executive George Frazis.

Frazis told the paper the Westpace Keyboard would make its debut later this week. The bank - which has previously been an advocate of PayTag contactless stickers - is also exploring new wearable payment options, handing out fitness bands with a clip-on contactless chip to employees.

Much like Barclays Bpay, the wearable chip will initially be available in a smart wristband later this year. The chip could be stitched into clothing or attached to any other jewellery or accessories, Frazis told the AFR.

"Effectively what we have done is combined the antenna and the chip into one element that you can then put into any accessory that is convenient for the customer," Frazis said. "This has unlimited potential for fitting in with whatever your lifestyle is."

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