She may have mastered the art of broadcasting, but Judy Bailey admits she was very much a reluctant beginner when she first ventured into the world of online banking. And, much like news reporting, banking is built on trust.
Bailey says it took her a while to put her faith in digital payments.
"I've been banking online now for a long time. It really was the convenience of it that attracted me in the beginning, but I am a technophobe, so if I can do it, anybody can."
Bailey says she was nervous to begin with, thinking pushing just one wrong button might make her money disappear, but as a Westpac digital banking spokesperson, she’s learned that making a mistake like that is practically impossible.
"I think reassurance is key to getting more people online. A lot of people are worried about security with online banking because there's been so much publicity about scammers and fraudsters," Bailey says.
"But really, online is much safer than messing about with cheques because you know, you can lose a cheque really easily. That's happened to me several times.
"And they have been known to go missing in the post!"
Bailey says she was impressed by just how far Westpac goes when it comes to protecting its customers and their money.
"Something I hadn't realised was that banks have teams of people who are watching your accounts all the time to look out for fraudsters and scammers. There are people whose job it is to keep your money safe. It's very reassuring," she says.
And with banks and major organisations phasing out the use of cheques, online banking is likely to become a more attractive option to an audience unfamiliar with the technology.
"Cheques are going to be a thing of the past, very soon. In fact, by the end of June next year Westpac won’t accept cheques. But I think most people who move over to online banking will be surprised at how easy and convenient it is."
"The number of cheque users has diminished rapidly. I think it's only about one percent of all banking transactions, fewer than one percent, in fact," Bailey says.
"So really, it's time to consolidate and move online. And I think, also, that it is a much more secure and seamless way of banking, as well as being much more convenient."
Westpac will be talking to its regular cheque users over the next few months about how they can do their banking in other ways. The bank also works with SeniorNet to offer free face-to-face workshops and online seminars that teach participants about digital banking and staying safe online.
Bailey says it’s not just the convenience of banking online that has won her over, it's the security and customer service, too.
"You don't have to queue up and you don't have to worry about whether the banks are open, and you can just hop online anytime 24/7, and do your business as it were," Bailey laughs.
Bailey says she only recently learned about how easy it has become to transfer money overseas after looking into sending money to the United States.
"One thing I didn't know, and I've only just realised, is that you can do overseas transactions through internet banking," Bailey says.
"It was always a bit of a mission to go up to the bank and find out about exchange rates and get the bank cheques organised. But, you can do that online with the touch of a button. And it's brilliant."
Bailey says while she is confident with banking online now, she understands why people are reluctant, and has some advice for those who are thinking of jumping online.
"Your bank will never email you asking for your bank details. Don't ever enter your personal details on websites that look a bit suspicious. And if you're being pressured to urgently transfer funds, don't do it."
"If it's an offer that looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t," she says.
And, even if you’ve already clicked on something, or think you’ve made a mistake, Bailey says don’t wait and worry, get on the phone to the bank and usually they will be able to sort it out for you straight away.
This article was created for Westpac NZ