That a company like Google is leading talks to acquire
Softcard, a mobile payments company, heralds a shake up in the mobile payments space.
The creep of companies like Google and Apple into payments, and organisations like Tesco into banking, highlights the massive change that financial services is undergoing. Previous challenger banks have struggled to build scale and customer loyalty but these
internet giants already have large capital reserves and a fiercely loyal customer base at the ready, representing a viable threat to the dominance of the big four.
Increasingly, our relationships with banks will become dominated by technical innovation. Whilst becoming a bank is a regulatory quagmire, the big four can’t rely on the hurdles of cost and compliance to protect them from the competition. Today’s consumer
has grown-up with an inherent understanding of technology and an on-demand mentality. Bugs, slow adoption or breaks in service will not be tolerated. In fact, our recent survey of 2,000 consumers revealed that online banking is the industry under most pressure
from customers that expect updates to be made at least once every four months.
Those with a tech heritage hold an advantage in the innovation game within financial services. Often freed from the constraints of legacy IT where provisioning data, developing and testing can take months, challengers can disrupt the market with simple product
offerings. They are likely to already be practicing Agile Development to stand up and tear down new apps and services in weeks or even days.
As a result, the point of contact between bank and customer will be owned by savvy start-ups, consumer experts and internet behemoths that can usurp some of the capabilities traditionally held by big banks. We’ve already witnessed the success of financial
services organisations that have evolved from the retail space and used their considerable customer insight and data access to develop banking offerings that appeal to consumers on a mass-scale.
With financial services becoming a consumer-choice minefield, only those traditional organisations developing and testing using new technology such as data virtualisation and following the principles found in DevOps will be able to continuously deliver new
products and features. The big four must recognise that they only have two options left - innovate or fail.