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25 years of digital financial services innovation

As Tim Berners-Lee once stated, “The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.”

With the Web becoming more sophisticated, so do mobile and online financial services. According to our recent research, over 70% of consumers now view the ability to manage their money digitally as vitally important. With the World Wide Web having this week celebrated its 25th birthday, it seems like the perfect time to reflect on how far digital financial services have come and where we go from here.  

Digital financial services actually date back to before the World Wide Web’s launch, with the invention of Homelink 30 years ago. Set up by the Bank of Scotland for customers of the Nottingham Building Society, it was based on the UK's Prestel Viewlink system and used a dedicated computer terminal connected to the telephone and television. It allowed customers to view statements, transfers and bill payments online. Fast forward to today, and customers have an array of options for managing their money thanks to the development of omni-channel banking allowing them to bank on their mobiles, tablets or desktops.  In fact, over half of consumers (57%) now expect to be able to bank on whatever device they choose.

The exciting thing is, it doesn’t stop there, with consumers demanding more innovation. For example, according to our research, 15% of financial services customers would like to bank via wearable technology as they feel it would be more convenient. Last year, we developed the world’s first smartwatch digital financial services app allowing users to view their bank balance in real time on their wrist. With the Google Glass program rapidly gaining headway, and with more and more wearables on the way, such as Apple’s rumoured iWatch, it won’t be long before wearable financial services solutions become more main stream. 

Biometric technology is also set to become more prominent in the mobile and online financial services sphere. Following the launch of the iPhone 5S last year, featuring a fingerprint scanner, this security technology is becoming more common place. This can only be a good thing for digital financial services, making it quicker, easier and more secure to manage finances while on the move. Additionally, the Treasury’s recent review of cheque deposit regulations will this year pave the way for customers to deposit cheques via their smartphones, saving them time and a branch visit.

With the plethora of wearable technology, new authentication and upcoming regulation, financial services providers have the opportunity to provide their customers with more options for managing their money than ever before. As the World Wide Web inventor put it, “What you create is limited only by your imagination.” I can’t wait to see what comes next! 



Comments: (1)

Paul Love
Paul Love - Konsentus - Nottingham 18 March, 2014, 16:30Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

We have indeed come a long way in the last few years - January also saw they 30th Birthday of the Apple Mac.

But it is much more recent developments, such as the mass adoption of in social media (Facebook is only 10 years old!) that have really driven the expectations of the mass consumer.

While this forum is read by mostly tech savvy early adopters who are keen to take on any new development, mass market adoption is key to widespread success of any new development, and archiving that relies on a number of elusive factors that are usually only seen with 20:20 hindsight.

While I agree that the future (whatever it may hold) is bright, it will be that way because it serves to make people’s lives better, and not just because it is a shiny new piece of technology.


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