Figuring out the ones and zeros of banking—and doing it expertly—has historically separated those who’ve won from the zeroes. But anyone who rests on their cyberlaurels going into 2018 will likely be in for a series of rude awakenings.
Aside from the unshakable fact that hackers, for example, won’t stand still, banking to customers in a more personal way presents a paradox: It means getting more computers involved. Machine learning will become all the rage but it won’t go very far if unaccompanied by human learning about what works and what doesn’t. Ditto artificial intelligence, which needs flesh-and-blood intelligence to find the right pain points and address them in the most creative, efficient fashion. To make things seamless for customers, banks should prepare to hit snags behind the scenes.
Here, four members of the Fiserv team—from New York City, Portland, Oregon, Central Florida and Salt Lake City respectively–offer their perspectives on fintech developments sure to change the banking game in incremental and exponential ways.
The wealth management industry has historically focused on serving high-net worth individuals with deep pockets. Today, artificial intelligence makes it possible for institutions to collect information and tailor investment advice in a more efficient, cost-effective way. This means more people can start to invest with smaller amounts of money, with a personalized experience to fit their needs and portfolio size.
While roboadvising will remain a buzzworthy topic in 2018, its moment in the spotlight will begin to wane. Instead, we’ll witness an increase in wealth management firms that incorporate digital and human advice to create a “hybrid” model. This will allow investors to access wealth management digitally—with the confidence of a human advisor when needed—and create a more sustainable long-term model.
In the race to respond to industry and investor needs, look for technology providers to continue to prioritize innovation that leads to a more modern, intuitive user interface—including efficient workflows for advisors, managers, home offices and, of course, investors. Providing a frictionless onboarding experience is an oft-mentioned pain point for money managers and advisors. But it has shown notable recent improvement, with more to come.
Mobile payments: New interactions with voice-enabled tech
Scott Hess, Vice President of User Experience, Consulting and Innovation
The already fast-paced change in mobile payments will only intensify in 2018, driven by advances in technology and changing consumer habits. Voice-enabled technology will rise in popularity, driven by the proliferation of devices such as Amazon Echo and growing comfort with virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa. The Echo Dot was the ecommerce site’s bestselling item on Amazon on Black Friday, meaning millions of households are likely to be setting up their new Echo on Christmas morning.
Not long after the wrapping paper hits the floor on Dec. 25, people will become more comfortable with voice-enabled technology and begin to use it for financial interactions. Initially these will be informational activities such as checking balances and accessing account activity. But as comfort grows we’ll see consumers initiate transactions such as paying bills or transferring funds.
Authentication will also reflect innovation as it moves beyond traditional PIN numbers and passwords to biometrics such as fingerprint, palm and face authentication.
Faster payments, including real-time money movement, will remain a priority across payment types. Person-to-person payment usage will grow as fewer people carry cash, and paying others digitally becomes the familiar and preferred option. And although mainstream mobile wallet adoption remains several years in the future, more consumers will venture into this digital niche.
Retail banking: High-tech meets human
Chad Conley, Senior Product Strategist, Retail Banking
Retail banking remains a central touch point for consumers, even as the ways they manage and move money change. Financial institutions are tasked with balancing the desire for high-tech innovations with well-timed human interactions. The evolution of capabilities such as data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence will help financial institutions hit that sweet spot in the coming year.
Data analytics use will also increase as financial institutions seek to better understand their customers and gain useful insights into consumer behaviors. Look for organizations to take even deeper dives into available information to expose trends and provide additional insights.
As AI turns a corner toward more widespread acceptance, it’s set to enhance capabilities such as fraud detection and customer support. And as voice assistants become household names (or even virtual household family members), they will help create an almost familial connection between consumers and organizations.
Matt Wilcox, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Strategy and Innovation, Digital Banking
Perfecting the user experience will drive digital banking developments in 2018. A seamless, secure and hassle-free experience will build digital trust worth its weight or more in gold in terms of driving customer engagement and loyalty.
Many innovations—voice banking, facial recognition and other biometric capabilities, for example—will make the digital experience more compelling and intuitive. People expect the branch experience to serve as an extension of their online and mobile interactions, and vice versa. And they expect their financial institution to earn their trust at every touch point.
Financial institutions will rise to meet those expectations in any number of ways. We’ll see the take a definitive step toward using analytics to customize the experience for consumers—and enable consumers to do it themselves.
There will be a push toward a smoother experience and significant advances in open banking via application program interfaces. We’re also seeing partnerships form between financial institutions and fintechs to allow for those customized relationships in banking, payments and lending.
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