Following the €18m invested in its digital platform, An Post plans to launch a new current account app next month. Presently An Post has around 2,50,000 customers and is expected to increase this to 1 million active customers by 2025.
Debbie Byrne, managing director of An Post retail, highlighted that the new app is more standardized than the banking app Revolut. He said that a lot of people use Revolut as a second account.
“We want to be the primary account; you’re paying your salary in and then you’re getting all the bells and whistles with it. You’ll have the trust of the An Post brand, the user experience of Revolut. And we have the retail network of 950 post offices.”
The new app includes features like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Fitbit Pay. It will use ‘ jars’ which enables the users to keep money in different pots that can be locked and thus making the money less easily accessed.
Intelligent budgeting will be introduced by the first quarter of 2025 to manage this. Peer-to-peer payments will also be introduced along with this.
“We will have smart, intelligent functionality that will do an analysis of you spend, give it back to you and create that budget for you. It will also be able to flag upcoming expenses such as insurances premiums, etc.”
Money Mate, an account created for 10-to-16 year old will also be launched. The young customers are provided with debit card which can be controlled by parents via an app.
“Where we want to position ourselves is as a new force in financial services and we see ourselves sitting between the pillar banks, because we have got the trust and scale, with the user experience of the Revoluts and digital banks.
“It’s a five-year plan,” said Byrne. “Open banking is key for us and that really only kicks in in Q1 next year,” she added.
“Switching in the current account market is very low and banks have made it deliberately very hard to switch. Open banking will now make it much easier to switch their accounts. It will take time and people don’t move fast.”
According to Byrne, An Post credit card collaborated with Avant card launched last year, has around 12000 credit card customers relating to €80m in credit. Byrne also pointed out that its loans were at 92pc of their forecasts and were gaining support.
She also adds that An Post views the current account offering as an intermediate of traditional banks and the digital banking apps.
Byrne also said that An Post also plans to enter the mortgage market and there had been talks with two parties last year.
“A lot of people don’t want to go to Revolut. Who is Revolut? Who is behind them? And are you going to pay your salary into Revolut?”
An Post is hopeful that it will find a partner and offer better value in the market.
“There is opportunity for to be offered better value and there is no point in us going into this space unless we can offer better value,” she said.
Byrne also talked about An Post plans to start SME lending next year. Green Hub concept has been launched last week as the primary step of offering green loans.
Through the new app, user can now avail carbon offsetting which can be linked to purchases and expenditures also recorded on the app.
Ibec called for the lifetime limit to be increased to €15m and expanded to “passive investors” in areas with high growth potential.
It also proposed exploring a dispute resolution mechanism regarding commercial leases, along the lines of a Swedish model recently introduced, which would involve some state burden sharing in order to provide short term protection from eviction.
It recommends the ability of businesses to write down Covid-19 tax debts under the Revenue tax warehousing scheme in circumstances where the debt threatens business viability.
“If SMEs are left with significant balance sheet damage, this would represent a significant blow to the growth potential of the most labour intensive sectors of the economy,” the report concludes.
The business group also proposes introducing a number of budget measures to assist firms that stand to be negatively impacted by Brexit.
Among the measures it proposes under this heading is the extension or re-introduction of the Employer Wage Subsidy Scheme for Brexit affected companies in the event of no trade deal being reached.
“The scheme should be put on a scenario contingent footing and be reintroduced on a temporary basis where firms are struggling due to immediate loss of income due to Brexit,” it said.
Ibec said a no-deal outcome is now the most likely scenario in December which, it says, will fundamentally reframe the economic outlook for Ireland, especially the region’s most reliant on Brexit-exposed sectors.
“Whilst some parts of the country may begin to recover from Covid-19 in 2021, others would be sent in a second recessionary spiral,” the report concludes.
The measures it proposes can be paid for through the existing €4 billion in Brexit contingency funding set aside for the years 2020 to 2025, additional tariff revenue from UK imports, and funding from the EU Brexit adjustment fund.