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What does the future hold for banking?

Recently the question of ‘what does the future of banking look like?’ was posed to my colleagues and me. Not in 30 or 40 years, but just 10 years from now. We all individually had a go at what we thought the world would look like in general, how consumers would bank, and how NCR could take advantage of these future trends. As you’d expect, everybody’s view of the future was different, but there were a number of common themes.

The most commonly held expectation for the future was of increased automation in all industries, which may not be surprising given that NCR are one of the leading companies in self-service solutions. However, even without our potentially blinkered view of the world we live in, most people would tell you that self-driving cars and self-flying planes are very much on the horizon. We already have vacuum cleaners that can be programmed to clean a room, and burger-flipping robots in California.  Just as ATMs have developed over the last 50 years to make our daily interaction with FIs increasingly easy, progress in technology will continue to simplify many other aspects of our lives.

We already have Amazon dash buttons – Wi-Fi-connected devices you position around the home that allow you to reorder your favorite products with the press of a button – and the ability to scan product barcodes as you put them in the bin to add them to your shopping list. AI personal assistants are already present on most mobile phones, but even that technology will continue to develop. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg is at the forefront of that push and is reportedly trying to build his own version of Iron Man’s Jarvis AI to run his home. Everyday household white goods are becoming smart, communicating with each other, collecting data that is useful for consumers and businesses in everyday life. We see this expanding, and developing; beacon technology is already in play with some retailers, and drone deliveries are no longer just pure fiction. Indeed, deliveries with an hour of order are a stated aim of some retailers and drones may just be the way to get them there.

The way people bank can and will change in the future, however we believe that ATMs and cash will still have an important part to play. Sometimes it is so easy to get lost in a world of cashless societies, AI and driverless cars in the mature regions of the world, that we lose sight of the emerging economies where the provision of key channels like the ATM is still continuing to grow. Going on current trends we would expect ATM installations to be at around 5 million across the globe, by 2028. There will possibly be wider adoption of cloud infrastructures, and greater mobile delivery of banking services via video technology. Consumers will still value human interaction, with “micro-branches” increasing in more diverse locations.

Banks are often reactive in how they sell products. The consumer has to actively request an overdraft increase, for example, or go through a process of application and approval to get a credit card.

In the future, this could all change thanks to ‘big data’ technology. A combination of browsing history and credit scores with beacon technology could allow banks and retailers to deliver personalized, relevant product offers in real time. A possible example is instant credit card offers to allow people to make one-off purchases. The bank may partner with the retailer, as already happens in some markets, to offer a discount on the product if it is purchased there and then. The ability to use the data held on customers proactively, rather than reacting with a long process, can greatly enhance the consumer experience. Providing financial products at times consumers have the need for them would have positive effects on both profitability and customer satisfaction.

The future is full of unknowns, and while nobody can be sure of what it will hold, I feel certain that the next 10 years will bring about even greater efficiencies for both businesses and consumers. The need for convenience, paired with consumers’ desire for a commonality of the ways in which they and businesses interact with each other, will mean that technology will become ever more pervasive in our daily lives, and with that, change the way we bank.

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