Technology has the potential to create seismic waves of change through banking that will alter consumer habits, but the industry will need to work hard to maintain trust and to ensure some customers are not left behind, says a report from UK bank CYBG.
The report warns that, despite the fact that Brits are embracing the digital banking revolution, providers need to beware turning banking into a commodity. Instead, the banks of the future will only prosper with human touch customer service. In a survey for CYBG, 81% of respondents say they would still want to speak to someone, or to visit a branch, no matter how advanced technology gets.
And customers are almost twice as likely to oppose all processes turning digital in banks compared to supermarkets, fast food restaurants or clothes shops. Only dealings with health professionals can match dealing with money in terms of concerns about digitalisation.
These results hold across the age ranges, with 78% of those between 16 and 34 valuing the human touch, with only three per cent ruling out being able to talk to someone as being important. The importance of face-to-face or talking to someone on the phone increases with more complicated transactions and if something goes wrong, for instance if there has been fraud on an account.
Despite the desire for a human touch, technology is still predicted to play an increasing role in how people bank. The report says 42% of Brits will use voice commands via smart devices by 2025, while 45% will have used a VR headset by 2022.
Meanwhile, the report predicts a coming trend for wearables whose popularity is evident with 17% of total consumers owning a wearable device, rising to 29% amongst Millennials. In turn, the use of wearable devices will soon be complemented and ultimately replaced by biometric payment methods. One in five have already used their fingerprint as a form of identification to make a purchase, with a further 28% interested in doing so.
However, the report warns that if technology is to be fully embraced, banks will need to build trust by safeguarding personal data and addressing cybercrime worries. Three quarters of consumers, of all generations, would like more control over personal information they give to companies and the way it is stored.
Mark Curran, director, payments and Open Banking, CYBG, says: "This report makes some bold claims for the future, for consumers and for banks. Wearables will revolutionise payments, customers will adopt budgeting technology making them much more aware of their finances, and biometrics will help reduce fraud.
"This is good news for customers but banks must raise their game to improve financial inclusion, maintain trust and, above all, make sure that they don’t lose the human touch."
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