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​St. George trials Bluetooth iBeacons to speed up banking

Forget deli-style ticketing systems -- St. George Bank customers are set for a more streamlined and modern banking experience thanks to a new trial that will bring iBeacons to selected branches.

Claire Reilly/CNET

The trials have seen the installation of iBeacons thast use Bluetooth to connect with a customer's smartphone and send information on services available in the branch. While iBeacon technology is slowly rolling out across the country, with applications including proximity marketing in shopping centres, this is an Australian first in the banking world according to St. George.

Using the iBeacons, customers receive a welcome message and "tailored information" to their iPhone when they enter the branch, directing them to different services (and removing the need to access a central console or print out a number before being served).

According to St. George CEO George Frazis, the trial is part of a larger goal to "surprise and delight" customers with integrated in-branch technology.

"The iBeacon trial forms part of a broader investment in our retail branches that will see more digital technology and increased staff expertise to make banking simpler, easier and faster for our customers," he said.

The iBeacon system is being trialled in three Sydney branches -- Bondi Junction, Blacktown and Penrith -- and is currently only available on iOS 7 devices. According to St. George, feedback from the first trial will be assessed before a wider roll-out, with plans to expand to Android and other platforms.