15th June 2015

World of Change

Can the way we spend, move and manage our money ever have changed so much and so quickly? This transformation has been astonishing and this exciting journey is still only just beginning.

Our first Way We Bank Now report in the summer of 2014 showed that mobile banking transactions had doubled in a single year, with more than 14 million of us having downloaded apps allowing us to bank on the move. It also highlighted the rapid rise of contactless cards and how millions of us had signed up to receive text alerts warning us if we were close to straying into the red.

The report you hold in your hands – or, more likely in this age, you are reading on your screen – shows that there has been no let-up in this revolution. In the last 12 months we have seen the advent of payment by Twitter, the launch of wearable technology such as the Apple Watch and the growth of Paym – a platform that allows us to pay friends and family with just a few taps of our smartphone’s screen.

This is not just a story about state-of-the-art new devices. Banks are also enhancing the products and services customers have used for centuries, with updates for future generations.

Just look at the humble cheque – soon to celebrate its 300-year anniversary. A recent change in the law should now allow many of us to be able to pay a cheque in by just snapping it with our mobile phone and effectively texting the image to our bank.

Similarly, sophisticated technology is being plumbed into bank branches to make life easier for customers. This could mean high-tech ATMs that allow businesses to deposit cash or cheques, iPads that allow you to open an account in just three minutes or video conferencing services that can get customers in front of mortgage specialists and other experts faster than ever before.

Look around the world and you will find that Britain is not alone. That’s why we’ve broadened our horizons in this year’s report to look beyond our shores, showcasing many of the best and more interesting innovations in retail banking elsewhere.

Our final section looks ahead to what new technologies customers can expect in the years ahead. To my mind, this is perhaps the most exciting part of this report – exploring how sophisticated use of data, biometric security features and wearable technology could combine to shape the next revolution in retail banking.

These innovations are transforming the mobile phone into a financial assistant in your pocket, using our bank’s knowledge of how we live our lives to offer us greater insight into how we’re spending our money and enabling us to save money on everything from the cost of our supermarket shop to our next meal out or holiday.

These will be services that we would opt for and not all of us will want them. But many of us in this country and abroad are already showing an enthusiasm for these kinds of tips and offers. Done in the right way, this could be a great way for banks to rebuild the trust and confidence customers have in our banks.

I am very grateful to the many banking experts from our members who spared time to be interviewed for this report and to our sponsor EY, which has also contributed a fascinating chapter on making innovation happen by focusing on the customer.

The way we bank is changing – and for the better. All those millions of us who have signed up for mobile banking have done it because we find it easy, fast and convenient.

However, that does not mean banks can be complacent that all innovation of this kind serves everyone well. That’s why banks must strive to make sure that this is not change for change’s sake, but new technologies that genuinely improve the lives of those who matter most – the customers.

Please note that this free publication is only available as a downloadable PDF, see below.
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