Last Updated on June 1, 2021 by Mark P.
Banking no longer takes place only in whitewashed buildings with greek porticos. Increasingly, when consumers need to pay a bill, get a loan, or deposit a check, they are doing it in front of a computer or mobile phone screen. In 2020, digital and mobile banking will continue to grow, and these three innovations are likely to lead the way:
Chatbots, artificial intelligence programs that interface with customers through an online “chat,” are rapidly growing in popularity. For financial institutions — banks, credit unions, insurance companies — chatbots hold the promise of cost reduction. A well-designed chatbot can be deployed at scale, significantly reducing the wage and overhead costs for many firms.
For consumers, chatbots offer immediate — if not human — assistance. Need to amend your insurance policy — your insurer’s chatbot can assist you. Need to update your home address — talk to the chatbot. There are even some investment advisors who are exploring the possibility of chatbots servicing their clients.
While some customers will no doubt oppose this new form of interaction, don’t expect that to deter the adoption of chatbots. Some surveys indicate that close to 30% of financial institutions plan to deploy more chatbots by the end of the year.
P2P (Peer-to-Peer Transactions)
While Peer-to-Peer services are nothing new, 2020 may be the year P2P reaches a new level of engagement. Many firms are vying for market share in the P2P space. Increasingly, banks and credit unions are moving away from Venmo — owned by Paypal — and towards Zelle, and this is hardly a surprise.
Zelle was developed by Early Warning Services, a private company owned by some of the largest banks in the US. JP Morgan, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, PNC, and others own the company and have a vested interest in its success.
So, while Paypal may continue to reign online in 2020, direct payments to and from individuals’ bank accounts are likely to shift to Zelle.
Digital Account Opening, DAO for short, involves opening a new account without ever visiting a bank in person. While this may not seem at first blush to be a complicated process, consider what a bank must do to open a new account:
- Validate the account applicant’s identity
- Collect their required personal information
- Assess, then admit or deny applicants based on risk or regulatory concerns
- Receive funds digitally (via credit/debit card or mobile app) and ensure they settle in a timely fashion
For all these pieces to fall into place, banks need the infrastructure and expertise behind the scenes to make the process seamless from start to finish.
Considering all the effort that goes into making the process work, why are banks interested in DAO at all?
It all comes down to dollars and cents. The cost of a DAO is only 55% that of a traditional non-digital account opening. And like any business, banks are always obsessed with lowering costs and thereby growing their profits.
In 2020, banks will look to push DAO rather than traditional in-person account openings. In turn, consumers should be on the lookout for banks that offer incentives and discounts for opening an account online.