According to the most recent figures in the annual World Payments Report*, there are about 260 billion non-cash payments made each year, with credit and debit card use up by 9.7% at the last count. The cards business is becoming a major driver of revenue
and with mobile payments on the horizon, banks need to get on and make the most of this opportunity if they are to thrive.
To do so, financial institutions need to deliver new services, more quickly, more cheaply, and better understand the needs of their customers. But for a bank – which has legacy systems and is often less agile than newer players such as PayPal – this can
be a challenge and could demand major organisational change and cost.
Cue the hand-wringing and naysayers. The banking industry has many great ideas but they often seem too hard to implement – many aspirations but a lot of historical challenges to overcome. But the cost of doing nothing is far greater than organisational change,
and there are practical steps that banks can take to unlock greater value in their investments.
For example, there is plenty of customer data to which banks have access. Often, this is totally overlooked, but it can be used to garner insight to offer additional products and value added services, and to improve the customer experience overall.
I have often talked about the unlocked value of data which, used correctly, gives you knowledge. Knowledge, applied in the right way, turns into intelligence. Intelligence, brought together in context, delivers insight – and that can be used to create revenue.
In turn, this makes investment justifiable and change more acceptable.
So, as the industry recovers, one thing is clear. Doing nothing is not an option and flexibility of approach is essential. If that means taking tactical steps such as unlocking the value of customer data, so be it. Be flexible, be tactical, do what you need
to do, but whatever you do – just do it.
*7th World Payments Report, Capgemini, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Efma, September 2011