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Kiwibank today welcomed the Government’s Digital Boost initiative and pledged to continue to support efforts to bring free online banking education to communities around New Zealand.
The Digital Boost Alliance exists to support small business resilience and productivity and enhance wellbeing and social inclusion via greater digital adoption.
Kiwibank Head of Sustainability a Julia Jackson said it was important everyone had the chance to make the most of the benefits that digital technologies provided.
“Our experience is that many people have a very real fear of the online world, but with the right support and a safe place to test and learn, they can build their confidence and skills very quickly.”
For the past three years Kiwibank has partnered with the Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa to deliver free digital banking courses through its Stepping UP programme which is held in libraries and community centres around the country. Kiwibank also supports DORA (Digital On-Road Access), a WI-FI enabled mobile classroom that travels around more remote parts of New Zealand to deliver its online banking training. DORA is currently in the Timaru District.
The workshops are designed to provide people with the information they need to stay safe when banking online, as well as helping them understand the basics of how to bank online. To date nearly 3,000 people have attended the banking courses.
“We know these courses are really effective in getting people to overcome their reluctance to change their banking habits,” said Jackson.
“In a survey of participants, 90% said they felt more confident to try some form of payment online after doing the course and 86% said they felt more confident to identify a scam.”
In addition to this formal partnership Kiwibank offers customers one-on-one sessions or small group sessions in branches called Tech Teas with Digital Angels, a network of trained team members, who work side-by-side with customers’ practicing online and mobile banking.
Jackson said there were many success stories but one that sticks with her is that of a retired farmer who had completed an introductory computer course at the local polytechnic but was still a bit intimidated about doing online banking. At the local branch, he was set up and logged on, he immediately understood how to access his balances and how to load bill payments. During the Tech Tea session, he set up two bill payments without any guidance. He finished the session saying, "If I had known it was this easy, I would have got over myself and started using this ages ago."