Business As Usual Has Been Disrupted
Time and again, customers embrace brands that go beyond selling products and services to providing meaningful utility in their lives. Consider the disruptive offerings by companies like Uber, who transformed a functional task into an effortlessly enjoyable one, changing consumer behavior seemingly overnight. Every day, we read about more companies like Uber, who are upending traditionally well-ensconced business models—not by inventing the new, but by re-imagining the customer experience for a particular market segment, applying the many possibilities of emerging technology to significantly improve the value that the experience provides.
Banking Is No Different
Like most industries, banking is experiencing its fair share of competitive threats, but it also has terrific new opportunities. Technology, such as social, search, mobile, and location-based services, has shifted control from brands over to customers. While daunting for most brands, what customers give in exchange is real-time, contextualized insight into their behavior, allowing companies to create experiences that are made more powerful through context. The disruptive opportunity for banking lies in creating personalized, contextual, and predictive experiences that enable consumers to make good financial decisions, and improve their financial behavior.
Weaving the Utility of Banking into Everyday Life
The launch of digital wallet solutions such as ApplePay and Google Wallet, have increased awareness of the technology, though digital security issues continue to hamper adoption. It’s not surprising, then, that almost 50% of customers select banks as their most trusted mobile payment services provider. This creates a timely opportunity for banks to move beyond passive reporting and goal planning, to a much more proactive role in helping customers effortlessly manage their spending and financial goals. Digital Wallet adds context and immediacy, and also allows banks the opportunity to move further upstream in relationships with customers, adding considerable value in financial management.
Along with digital payment technology, numerous other technologies exist today that allow banks to take the role of an omnipresent financial concierge. Banks can now actively assist customers in setting financial goals, money management, financing services, financial advice, shopping guidance, spending patterns, rewards, and payments. They can support customers in real-time with the knowledge of their favorite stores, providers, and spending habits. It’s about weaving the utility of banking into my everyday life—making it personalized, contextual, and timely. My bank knows me and understands my financial position and needs. It anticipates my needs and behaviors, proactively counseling me in real-time, helping to continually maximize my financial potential. Can I afford this? How will this impact my financial goals? How would a simple change in my spending behavior affect my future? And so on. Now that is truly banking as a service.
The Future of Personal Financial Management Solutions
The reality is that the roadmap for personal financial management (PFM) solutions is hampered by legacy back-end systems, data infrastructure, and potential partnerships. In the short term, we are seeing component-based interaction and UI design approaches that can provide immediately useful, usable, and desirable outcomes. These include Interactive Data Visualization, Real-Time Goal Messaging, Spending-Prediction Charting, and Motivational Gamiﬁcation and Rewards.
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