Digital Wallets Commonplace And Now In New Zealand


In Singapore the only real escape from the incessant heat is the condo pool. Cooling off in late 2020 were Dosh co-founders Shane Marsh and James McEniery, contemplating their Covid-driven return to their homeland of New Zealand.

The seed of an idea grows

“What are you going to miss most about Singapore” Shane asked. James replied, “The people, culture and cuisine, and also these apps we use each day – do they have these back in New Zealand?” James was referring to the digital wallet apps that are commonplace in Asia and around the world. A global phenomenon, the apps enable instant, 24/7 payments to mobile numbers that make paying back your mates easy. The answer to James’ question was of course “No”, and so the idea of Dosh was born.

Dosh, the Kiwi digital wallet app that makes paying people simple, is not a new concept internationally, but is a first for New Zealand. The solution is more than a wallet, it is a new way of banking and introduces the first real time payment system to New Zealand. Over 45 countries have a real time payment system, yet New Zealand banks still operate on a Monday to Friday delayed payment model.

Shane Marsh says, “Governments and banks have spent billions around the world on real time payment networks because instant, 24/7 payments are a game changer. They are the basis for multiple uses cases, such as paying back friends, settling a marketplace purchase at
pick up, or instantly getting money to people in need. People transact 24/7, so their money should move in this timeframe as well.”

How it works

Dosh enables instant person-to-person and business payments via its Dosh for Business solution, which enables businesses to accept instant payments by QR code, another first for New Zealand. This is especially relevant with the need for contactless payment solutions. Businesses can register and set up quickly and easily, meaning they can start transacting
safely and instantly almost immediately Shane and James both left long corporate careers to launch Dosh.

So what has the experience of moving from corporate to start-up been like?
James says, “Launching a fin tech is an exciting, fast-moving adventure. We make decisions and move forward at pace, without the corporate constraints that slow down larger organisations. Large financial institutions have legacy issues that limit the opportunity to innovate, and it is refreshing to bring new solutions to market in a relatively unconstrained environment.”

The challenges of creating NZ's first digital wallet

Starting New Zealand’s first digital wallet has not been without its challenges though. The global Open Banking movement that has removed many barriers to entry for financial service providers has progressed more slowly in New Zealand than other countries. Open
Banking enables greater competition in the market through access to data and bank APIs. This slow progress is the primary reason for a lack of new innovation in the country, says Shane Marsh.

Another challenge has been the relatively high regulatory hurdles to commence a fin tech in New Zealand. Other countries have pathways and sandboxes that support and enable new entrants to adapt to the regulatory environment over time. Dosh is a registered Financial Services Provider and meets the full KYC and AML requirements for New Zealand.

With a focus on electronic onboarding, Dosh welcomed the additional guidance provided by the July update on the Electronic Identity Verification Explanatory Note. Dosh, in partnership with Cloudcheck, employs full electronic onboarding and KYC, a registration process that takes 2-3 minutes.

Shane notes that while this meets the needs of a portion of users, there is a large sector of society that is not enabled through the current guidelines. He says, “Young people and immigrants are often without the required identification such as NZ Driver’s Licences and passports, making their onboarding a barrier to accessing new, innovative services such as Dosh. These people are often early adopters to new technology, so it would be good to see new forms of identification acceptable for these groups.”

Privacy and trust

Dosh is conscious that the collection of information required to onboard customers means privacy and trust are paramount. Dosh has employed the highest international security standard to keep people’s money and personal information safe. Funds in the Dosh wallet are held in trust at a major New Zealand bank, and the money is not invested to generate a return. Dosh uses leading payment gateway provider Windcave to top up the Dosh wallet and is shortly adding a bank transfer option for customers to add money to their wallet.

With the launch complete, Dosh is now looking to grow its customer base, while looking forward to new additions to complement its instant payment solution. James says, “We are excited to add new top up and payment options for consumers, while also expanding our offering to businesses. We see a need for organisations to pay other businesses and their employees instantly 24/7, which could really accelerate commerce in New Zealand.” For Dosh, consumers and businesses, the future of instant payments looks bright.

Can’t get enough of tech? Find out how tech could automate and simplify AML in ‘How Digital Identity Verification Can Help Your Business‘.

James McEniery & Shane Marsh

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