BNZ is the first bank to launch Android Pay to New Zealand

To celebrate the launch of Android Pay in New Zealand, BNZ is recruiting New Zealanders around the country to buy gifts for the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Appeal.

The initiative, called BNZ Android Pay Back, will arm New Zealanders with the technology and funds to shop for the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal. BNZ Android Pay Back will result in approximately $10,000 worth of gifts going to the Salvation Army for them to give to children who may otherwise miss out at Christmas.

David Bullock, director of products and technology at BNZ, says the bank is proud to be the first to bring Android Pay to New Zealanders. The technology will allow anyone with an NFC-enabled Android device (running KitKat 4.4 or higher) to pay in store with a tap of their phone.

“We see clear benefits in bringing Android Pay to New Zealand for our customers. For many, this Christmas will bring the first moment they can shop without needing to use their wallet, and as the uptake in contactless payments increase there will be even more places to pay with just a tap of your phone. It’s about simplicity and convenience in payment options for your everyday banking.

“At BNZ, we’re pleased to have negotiated this technology-first for our customers and look forward to adding to this technology and delivering other digital firsts in the future,” says Bullock.

BNZ has launched the contactless payment solution with GoogleTM, offering BNZ Flexi Debit Visa cardholders the first chance to use Android Pay in New Zealand. BNZ Android Pay allows anyone with an Android phone (KitKat 4+) enabled with Near Field Communication (NFC) to pay in store by tapping their phone on a contactless-enabled EFTPOS machine.  

“New Zealanders have a long standing affinity with electronic payments, as shown most recently by the swift uptake in contactless payments. BNZ Android Pay is just like tap and go payments with contactless cards, except you tap your phone to the EFTPOS terminal,” says Bullock. 

To sign up people simply need to install the Android Pay app on their phone and add their BNZ Visa Flexi Debit card by taking a photo of it. They need to have the BNZ Mobile Banking app loaded on their phone. 

Security is paramount to BNZ and Google. Each transaction creates a virtual card that’s used to make the payment, so that your bank details aren’t involved. Android Pay will not copy or emulate the signal used when you make a contactless payment with your BNZ Flexi Debit Visa card.

Also, if people lose their phone they can easily access Android Device Manager to instantly lock it from anywhere, secure it with a new password, or wipe it clean of personal data.

Android Pay is available at a range of retailers including, but not limited to The Warehouse, Noel Leeming, New World, PAK’nSAVE, Countdown, Animates, Paper Plus, Rebel Sport, Kathmandu, Farmers and JB Hi-Fi.

Kiwis blame investors, foreigners and net migration for housing crisis

  • Just 11% cite supply as a leading cause of New Zealand’s housing crisis
  • More than a third (35%) blame investors and 25% blame either record total migration and an influx of foreign buyers
  • Almost 6 out of 10 (57%) support the idea of debt to income ratios

The release of BNZ Financial Futures Research shows that those New Zealanders who are concerned about the housing situation (72%) blame investors and immigrants for the country’s housing issue, and while current attempts to solve the problem, while welcome, are perceived to have little impact. More than a third of New Zealanders (35%) blame investors who are motivated by profit as the biggest cause of the country’s housing problems. More than one in ten (13%) say foreign buyers are the issue, and the same number again cite total net migration (new immigrants, people returning to New Zealand or not leaving) as the main causes.

Anthony Healy, BNZ chief executive, says understanding the issues around housing in New Zealand, especially in Auckland, is complex though admits he was surprised that so few people called out supply as a critical issue.

“It is certainly easier to focus in on migrants and investors as the main issue – they are visible and clearly part of the demand side – but it is important we have a balanced debate here, and take the time to understand the supply side pressures as well,” Mr Healy said.

“Many of us – banks, developers, builders, Auckland Council – who are involved day to day in the sector, need to do a better job of communicating the bigger picture and what needs to be done to increase supply. With the Unitary plan for example, I fear too many Aucklanders were concerned about the potential impact on their own back yards, rather than the future of Auckland and its importance to the prosperity of New Zealand.”

The BNZ Financial Futures research also examined views on the new lending restrictions, which are designed to make it tougher for investors to buy new properties. Respondents were broadly supportive of loan-to-value restrictions (LVRs) with 65 per cent saying they were fair, yet a greater proportion (83%) confess they don’t think LVRS will have a substantial impact on housing.

In addition, respondents were asked about potential new restrictions, including a debt-to-income ratio, where borrowing is limited to household income multiplied by a set amount. Again, respondents were supportive with 57% agreeing they’re fair, and only a third thinking it will have any impact on rising house prices.

“I’m not surprised that at first glance, the vast majority are supportive of debt to income ratios – I think any measure that is seen to be targeting investors would go down well with those who aren’t investors,” Mr Healy said.

“But it’s important to stay focussed on the fact that moves by the Reserve Bank are predominantly conservative tools designed to de-risk the banking sector and BNZ will always work constructively with the Reserve Bank.”   

“Ratios can have a real impact on first home buyers who may be on lower incomes when compared to their potential future earnings.

There is no silver bullet to the housing affordability challenges but there are positive signs on the horizon including moderating house prices, more supply coming on and innovative proposals to provide more affordable housing stock.”

Kiwis say housing overvalued, but still expect prices to ramp up 21%

Newly released BNZ Financial Futures Research has found 62 per cent New Zealanders think house prices in their region are overvalued, but, paradoxically, they also seem to be banking on overzealous price increases in the next year.

New Zealanders expect house prices to increase by a whopping 21 per cent during the next year, despite the national median house price increasing 12.7 per cent between October 2015 and October 2016 (REINZ).

Non-property owners have even higher expectations, forecasting house prices will increase 25 per cent during the next year.

People expect house prices will increase an average of 43 per cent in the next decade, and an average of 56 per cent  during the next 20 years.

David Bullock, BNZ’s acting director of retail and marketing, says it’s important that Kiwis don’t have unrealistic expectations of continuous house price increases.

“When it comes to rising house prices, people are very optimistic if they are banking on continuous price hikes well above average. It’s unlikely that housing will increase in value by as much as 21 per cent in the next year and nor would this be a good outcome for New Zealand. It’s also concerning if New Zealanders are planning their financial futures based on these sorts of predictions.

“It’s worth pointing out that rising house prices only make homeowners wealthy on paper. If you are selling and buying in the same market, then large profits are unlikely unless downsizing or significantly changing location” says Mr Bullock.

At the same time as expecting huge increases in their house values, New Zealanders also think that we’re paying too much for housing right now. This concept was pervasive throughout the country – even in regions like the West Coast and Wellington, more than half of people (57% and 59% respectively) think the market is overheated.

 “Our research also found only one in three (36%) think it’s a good time for people to buy their first house. Yet more than three quarters of people think it’s a good time for people to save for their first home – so Kiwi’s underlying affinity with home ownership doesn’t seem to be shifting, it’s just about how and when you get into the market,” says Mr Bullock.

The research found that nearly a quarter (23%) of non-property owners are planning to buy a house in another region and move there, and one in five (20%) non-property owners are planning to buy somewhere other than the region they live in and rent it out.

 “Applied to Auckland, that would mean that 300,000 Aucklanders (a city almost the size of Christchurch) are actively considering moving out – this helps to explain some of the pricing pressure throughout provincial New Zealand,” says Mr Bullock.

“Only six months ago we were talking about the impact Auckland’s housing market was having on neighbouring regions such as Waikato and the Bay of Plenty and now we are seeing this flowing into other regions further afield.”

A further 12 per cent of New Zealanders are planning to cash up and sell their house to take advantage of the high prices.


 *The BNZ Financial Futures research was conducted by Colmar Brunton, a New Zealand Market Research Company. The purpose of the research was to understand general financial behaviour and attitudes of New Zealanders, and the impact of rising house prices on attitudes to owning your own home. Online interviews were open to 18+ respondents from Friday 29 July to Monday 12 August 2016, surveying a total sample size of n=2,000.