The financial services sector has a unique profile in terms of regulatory compliance, risk management, customer experience, operational profitability and data volumes. However, like other industries, it’s having to adapt to the consumerization phenomenon: mobile devices have become the vehicle of choice for financial services professionals and customers alike, whether for accessing information or supporting transactions or other banking activities.
Retail banks have embraced the use of mobile apps to facilitate customer self-service. Increasingly, mobile is changing the nature of secure real-world payments through the integration of biometrics and by harnessing wearable technologies. Within three days of its launch, Apple announced that more than a million credit cards had been registered for Apple Pay, making it the largest mobile payment system to launch. With rollout into Europe starting with the UK this month, and all major UK banks (except Barclays) announcing support, interest around mobile payments is rapidly increasing.
Though Apple Pay is just focused on enabling real-world and mobile payments, there’s a huge opportunity for financial service organizations to provide intelligent systems that help customers better manage their money. Just as mobile health apps help people become more aware of their health, helping them make better lifestyle choices, there’s a gap in the market for banks to provide more than balance checking and transfers through their apps.
Mobile can be used to inform, educate and help customers make decisions about budgeting, saving and spending. As traditional conversion paths become less relevant, providing contextual information at the point of decision has become essential to help drive revenue and engagement.
Increasingly, creating mobile tools that enable customers to model various scenarios and choose services for themselves, based on the outcomes, has become important. The provider can make recommendations based on customer behaviors and dealings, captured through opt-in mobile app activity.
Disrupted by mobile, and smarter apps
There is a generation that’s growing up having never really gone into a bank to ask for advice as a result of growing up with technology. By including the ability to help people understand their spending habits and set goals they want to reach, such as saving for a holiday, a new car or whatever it is, mobile could be the ‘always with you’ personal adviser. No one is in as good a position as banks to provide this type of service.
Outside of enabling customers to better understand their spending habits, financial service organizations can also empower employees to address more complex, advisory-based interactions through creating smarter apps. Mobile apps go beyond being ‘light’ versions of traditional enterprise software. Unlike desktop software, apps can utilize hardware functionality, such as the camera and other sensors, which can be utilized to provide authentication when employees are meeting with clients. The devices themselves are also infinitely more shareable. An adviser is able to pass a tablet to a client to look at modeling, and the client is able to physically interact with it. It’s the best of paper-based materials with the best of computer software.
There are positive signs happening across the industry. The UK and other European cities are hubs of financial services startups that are looking to cause disruption. Banks are increasingly moving to the mobile mindset, with banks such as Barclays actively trying to cause disruption to the point that it’s the notable absentee for Apple Pay.
Financial service organizations are also realizing the power of putting apps in the hands of employees, helping to provide them with the tools and data sets they need to help them service clients. We’re even seeing IBM work with Apple to create apps for the sector, such as:
- Advisor Alerts, designed to help financial advisers make informed decisions with real-time strategic guidance.
- Advise & Grow, helping advisers of small businesses gain insight into their venture to increase the chance of success.
- Trusted Advice, helping to untether wealth advisers from desktops to deliver analytic, scenario-based, graphic-rich and interactive financial planning.
Companies can either choose to create their own apps that help them to remain competitive and disruptive, use app platforms that are being created by the likes of IBM, or risk being disrupted by a competitor or startup.
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