Australia's St George Bank has built a smartwatch app prototype as it prepares for a world where customers check their account balance and make payments from their wrists.
The smartwatch craze has been gathering momentum in recent months thanks to the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Pebble, as well as persistent rumours that giants such as Apple and Google will enter the fray.
In an interview with The Australian Financial Review, St George CIO Dhiren Kulkarni has revealed that the bank already has a working prototype app "but it is a question of how we interact and then functionally what we want to be able to do on them".
Initially the bank expects to link the app to its MoneyMeter account balance monitor but it is also exploring contactless payments, based on Bluetooth rather than NFC.
"It is not about forcing banking on people, but working out how we can seamlessly complement the environment and provide services at the right time and in the right context," says St George head of mobile, Travis Tyler.
Separately, another Australian bank, NAB, has moved its customer Web site onto the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud, with hosting at the tech giant's Sydney data centre.