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Westpac harnesses the power of the developer crowd, chooses winners of app challenge

Westpac has chosen three winning apps in a competition it launched to find ways of making banking processes faster. The Westpac App Challenge crowdsourcing contest pitted 120 entrants from around the country against each other, with seven finalists participating in a Dragon’s Den style showdown a few weeks ago at Westpac’s Auckland HQ.

The winners are Steven Pinkham of Christchurch, David Arnold from Tauranga and Wellington pair John Jackson and Justine Polkinghorne.

Pinkham is a supermarket supervisor and developed his idea after observing customers at the checkout. He has a strong interest in software development and recently put himself through a tertiary course. 

Pinkham told the Herald he could not disclose details about the app for commercial reasons. 

“The idea is transferring money between a customer’s accounts. The problem is that sometimes people don’t have enough money in their account to pay for their groceries. My idea is a straightforward approach, and was inspired by Westpac’s own CashTank app.”

Jackson and Polkinghorne’s idea is designed to make financial management easier for targeted users, says Westpac.

It was going to select two winning ideas but says, “the quality of the ideas and the benefits they will deliver to customers meant we had to extend that to three”.

The winners get $10,000 and retain their IP and they will work with Westpac to develop their apps. They also have potential to be developed for international markets. 

The 120 entries covered payments, budgeting, saving tools, transfers and security, and included concepts such as gamification, peer-to-peer and competitions and the bank says it is now preparing to launch an international app challenge.

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