People aren’t loving fintech as much as you might think, so financial pundits should step up the positive rhetoric, says Chris Skinner for 11:FS.

I find it interesting as we move towards open banking and open APIs through regulations at both the UK and EU levels, that the push is for data sharing with trusted third parties with user consent. All well and good, you would think, but several surveys point to it not being quite so rosy.

The typical report cites consumer lack of trust as the issue, and that they wouldn’t feel secure having their data used by any third parties, even ones the banks trust. This was documented in The Telegraph, where some discussions of their recent Future of Fintech conference is covered, where I chaired the session about open banking.

According to the newspaper, two thirds of consumers in the UK say they won’t share their financial data with a third party, and more than half (53%) say they would never change how they bank. This is a fairly Luddite view, and reminds me of people who say they would never use mobile payments, yet are happy to have Apple in-app and iTunes purchases run away on their phone, or pay by credit card for their Uber rides. These are mobile payments, but they just don’t see it this way.

Similarly, consumers will enjoy the ease of use of open APIs to live their lives without cash and coins. They just won’t realise that they’re using open APIs when their Facebook marketplace purchase is checked out with a swipe, or their online donation to charity is made through Stripe.

However, there is a serious point to this, which is that (some) consumers are really nervous about money and wouldn’t enjoy their bank exposing them to risk. This is why some don’t even use online banking, let alone mobile banking.

For example, in the UK, Lloyds, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have around eight million, 5.7 million, and 4.2 million mobile banking customers each, respectively. However, between them, they serve almost 80 million accounts, and of that 80 million, 18 million mobile banking customers is approximately just 25% of the customer base. This means that 75% of UK consumers still don’t trust mobile banking, even though it’s been around for more than five years. The first mobile banking app was launched by Barclays in 2012.

Even more notably, a third of UK bank customers don’t even use online banking today.

Online banking penetration in Great Britain from 2007 to 2017. Source: Statista 2017

Online banking penetration in Great Britain from 2007 to 2017. Source: Statista 2017.

What I often feel is that the technologists believe far more in banking technologies than the users. Yes, there is a large crowd of people who like the fintech startups such as TransferWise, Atom and Monzo, but there’s a far larger crowd of people that don’t, and it will take time to educate them to change before they do.

This is why it’s imperative for financial pundits to show people the benefits and incentives for switching to new technologies and trusted third parties, rather than just sitting and waiting. Rolling out new apps is all well and good, but if the majority of customers miss the point, then things will stay the same.

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– This article is reproduced with kind permission. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations. Read more of Chris’ articles for 11:FS right here. Photo by Billion Photos, Shutterstock.com

About the author

Chris Skinner

Chris Skinner is an independent commentator on the financial markets through the Finanser, and chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club, which he founded in 2004. He is an author of numerous books covering everything from European regulations in banking through to the credit crisis, to the future of banking.

About the author

11FS

11:FS is a "digital transformation agency" that believes banking should be about more than selling financial products. It is co-founded by David Brear, Jason Bates, Ross Methven, Meaghan Johnson and Simon Taylor. 11:FS produces FinTech Insider, and provides services such as 11:FS Pulse, 11:FS Ventures and 11:FS Talks.

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