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Why banks should consider a Digital First approach

By now everyone should be aware of Digital First banking. Its ability to enable both physical and digital card issuance, real-time card management or secure, straightforward free online payments, showcases the countless benefits consumers are enjoying on a daily basis. These digital features are delivering the cornerstone of modern banking – convenience and instantaneity.

So, what about banks? While any business’ core goal is serving customers better, Digital First can enhance the services that banks offer in numerous ways. As banks continually review and look to invest in world class digital banking infrastructure, it’s important for banking leaders to understand how Digital First can benefit their organisation, as well as their customers.

Pushing EMV as the top online payment method

Take payment methods. Banks’ primary method of EMV cards are a staple now when it comes to physical, in-person purchases. However, their use online has been displaced by a diversifying payment market including digital wallets and person-to-person payments. EMV can come with its complications online, which may be leading to issues for consumers. While straightforward, having to constantly enter card details does prove to be a sticking point for consumers. Research has shown that any complicated checkout processes can lead to as many as 27% of shoppers abandoning online shopping carts.

How do banks go about making EMV cards more accessible than other online payment methods then? A Digital First approach can enable banks to cut out the hassle of entering card details by offering consumers instant digital card payment through their mobile apps. Introducing services like virtual card display, that enables easy copy and paste of details onto a site, consumers can pay for products without having to spend time constantly putting in card details over and over again.

What’s the benefit for banks? Any easier payment process will automatically inspire greater adoption from consumers to use their EMV cards from their mobiles. As a result, it means consumers are more likely to use their bank issued EMV cards for online transactions, consolidating trust in the bank’s solutions (and boosting bank revenues).

Increased security

Aside from convenience, an equally important element, for both banks and consumers is naturally security. As of 2020, global payment fraud was predicted to increase by 25% to $40.62 billion in 2027. In Europe, card not present fraud reached 76% of fraud losses  last year. These numbers show fraud is still a serious issue and banks must ensure they and their customers are equipped to avoid falling foul.

Through Digital First banking being anchored around the mobile banking app, banks can utilise measure like biometric authentication or digital signatures to ensure only certified users of the app can access it. Should a physical card be stolen too, banks can keep consumers aware of any unwanted transactions through real-time notifications on their phones. This real-time information can be vital in helping consumers cancel or freeze cards instantly. By protecting their customers, banks, in turn, can protect themselves.

Competitiveness is growing      

In today’s age though, it’s increasingly difficult for banks to differentiate themselves from each other. Each one is aware that consumers want simplicity and instantaneity, and as such they’ve expanded their offerings to accommodate.

Digital First can help banks to become more competitive by enabling them to give consumers the keys to their own banking experience. They can offer an adaptable service that can fit any consumer needs, while ensuring they hit the core tenets of convenience and instantaneity. This could be online shoppers who want to use specific cards or particular eCommerce sites, or a traditional customer that wants to collect their new cards in branch.

Offering a range of services is always good for customers, but it’s important banks implement solutions that offer additional benefits to what they’ve already got and take their range of services to the next level. With Digital First, improving customer experience can simultaneously boost both the bank and its services.



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Howard Berg

Howard Berg

Senior V President,North and Central Europe, BPS

Gemalto DIS

Member since

18 Nov 2009



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