I got an email from Xero today advising that Westpac customers can now have their bank feeds automatically brought into their Xero accounting software (this has been available from the other banks for some time now). Eagle eyed readers will remember that Westpac is the bank behind the destined-to-failure community site the Ruby Connection. The fact that Westpac is the last bank to actually sort this out (and technically it’s not a big deal to implement), makes me put them down the bottom of the list in terms of banks who “get it”.
Most banks realise that readily accessible banking is a benefit to customers and shows an awareness to actually react to their customers in truly user-focused as opposed to PR-focused) ways. But no, Xero has to inform customers that;
Please note that Westpac charges a $25 bank fee for establishing the automatic feed (the Westpac fee appears on your next Xero invoice
This raises two points in my mind;
- Would it not be worthwhile for Xero to cover this cost to both increase uptake and also build loyalty among their customers
- More importantly how can a bank justify charging what is in essence a punitive fee for users who are making changes to reduce the cost of being customers – it doesn’t make sense
So for me the takeaways from this situation are that banks really don’t get the changing paradigm within which they operate, and that SaaS vendors need to do everything they can (and more) to mitigate the damage done by recalcitrant third parties.