Cloud accounting software upstart Xero and National Australia Bank (NAB) have announced customers will soon be able to make payments directly out of Xero, bypassing internet banking altogether.
Currently only SME bank Tyro allows customers to bypass internet banking via Xero with its deposit account, however this functionality relates to the payment of batches of invoices, not at the individual invoice level. It is not clear at this stage if the NAB and Xero tie up will replicate the Tyro functionality for batch payments only, or also include individual invoices for payment as well.
If the tie up does include individual invoices, this would be an absolute game changer for the micro end of the SME spectrum, in particular sole traders and freelancers. Currently bank details and payment amounts must be manually re-entered into internet bank software. While payee details can be saved in internet banking, the manual re-entry of payment information and invoice reference details is a chore and something no business owner should need to do in 2018.
Bank feeds of payments made have been available for some time in Xero, for all the major banks, however this additional initiation functionality will finally close the loop for many Xero users. It will also provide business owners with a serious reason to consider switching their business banking. With bank feed functionality into Xero on-par across all major Australian banks, any small differentiation is big news on the transaction account front.
Differentiation on the deposit account front is underwhelming globally. It still surprises me how little attention is paid to this stream of banking, especially considering it is the one area non-bank fintechs can’t play in, without being an overlay service to an existing authorised deposit taking institution.
The problem is, banks will need to be brave, like NAB and Tyro, and be comfortable powering other platforms, rather than the other way around. But this type of innovation only scratches the surface. Most banks still fail to link the innovation opportunities around behavioural and lifestyle factors associated with money.
Not Russian bank Alfa. Their deposit account found a novel way to get you rich and fit, all at the same time. By hooking into your Fitbit data, or equivalent app, reaching your daily step goal allows you to move a certain portion of your savings into a super high-interest account. As a result, savings balances in the gamified deposit accounts grew twice has fast as normal accounts, with customers also moving 1.5 times more on average.
Now that’s really thinking outside of the safety-innovation deposit box, and we certainly need more of it.
Daily Fintech Advisers provides strategic consulting to organizations with business and investment interests in Fintech. Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy.