2021 Trends in Banking

Matt Williamson
Publication Date
11 February 2021

2021 Trends in Banking

We’re a month into the new year and there are lots of predictions floating around regarding how the year will unfold, but with COVID-19 still running rampant it's hard to know where to place your bets. People are still working from home. Children are still participating in virtual school. Overall, digital solutions are still largely preferred by the masses thanks to the safety and convenience that they offer. 

In this blog, I wanted to share my thoughts on 2021 banking trends. As a bonus, because we are a digital banking consulting firm, I wanted to also provide you with real action items that you can put into practice at your organization now to get in front of whatever lies ahead – whether that’s more working from home and contactless options or a vaccine that allows us to all be together again. Regardless, the world has forever changed and there are some trends that will not go away anytime soon. Let’s dig into them:

Improvements in digital customer experience

The acceleration of digital innovation in 2020 sparked many sectors into action. For banking in particular, Mobiquity’s Friction Report data found a few challenges that customers have with the top banking apps around the globe. In the UK, login, customer service, and notifications are the features causing the most friction.1 In the Netherlands, there are challenges with getting adequate customer service, making payments, and signing up or logging in.1 Lastly, in the US, payments, login, and mobile deposits and transfers were the greatest sources of friction. This research includes 2020 data and customer reviews during the pandemic.2 All of this tells us that digital banking tools need improvements to make the customer experience better.

Actions you can take:

  • Seek out what matters most to your customers and employees: Consider surveying your customers so that you can create the best digital experience possible. And consult with your employees, who are often customers as well. Be sure to include a variety of people across departments to get the truest picture of how your organization can improve. Employees may be able to offer golden insights if provided with a safe environment in which to give honest feedback. By factoring in stakeholder and customer perspectives and where they may have concerns and potential resistance, you’ll be better able to anticipate and resolve challenges faster along the way.
  • Don’t wait to take action: Digital innovation waits for no one. Those that invest in creating great digital experiences and customer journeys now are much more likely to succeed in customer satisfaction and retention in the near future. Simply looking at what the competition is doing and copying them doesn’t work. Focus on what will help your customers and you’ll be much more successful.
  • Deprioritize everything you can and then prioritize the rest: Businesses around the world are being tasked to do more with less. Leaders need to look at their list of wants and needs and decide what can be deprioritized so that they can focus on initiatives that will have the most impact. To create a great experience, take a good look at what you should do now and what can be released in a later phase. While you likely can’t be a fintech, you can adopt a more agile approach.

Continued vigilance with fraud

Cyber fraud in 2021 will continue to rise and banks and financial institutions need to be prepared. Evidence from 2020 shows the need for greater data security and identity management to align with the societal shift to digital payments. Banks must take a human-centric approach to implementing robust security and regulatory-compliant frameworks to protect their customers.

Actions you can take:

  • Work with a provider that knows security: If you’re considering cloud migration or implementing platforms that enable you to create seamless user experiences, you need to ensure that the partners you pick to support your journey have you covered. Companies like AWS, Backbase, Jumio, Mambu, and others are all options for you and your digital partner should have great complementary relationships with these companies to ensure your security. 
  • Implement digital payments & digital wallets: Paying for things digitally has been on a significant rise over the last few years with overall usage of contactless payments rising by 150% since March 2019.3 COVID-19 has accelerated the use of digital payments even more. We’re seeing contactless payments on the upswing at restaurants, to pay for groceries, and even to pay for things like medications and telemedicine visits. Consider the integrations that you can implement to enable easier digital payment for your consumers. Similarly, if you’re going to make digital payments accessible, you should also consider digital wallets, or e-wallets, as part of an omnichannel strategy. These enable and ensure that your customers have access to their debit and credit cards at all times, with less chance of losing the card and a decreased risk of credit card fraud. And don’t just take it from us; US News (and many regions globally) highlight how mobile and contactless payments are not only quicker but also provide multilayered security that plastic cards can't match.4 
  • Consider adding digital onboarding and identity verification to your strategy: Leveraging partners like Jumio can help integrate digital onboarding and identity verification into your digital program. This is particularly useful for banks and credit unions looking to onboard new customers in the safest and fastest way possible. Eliminate the need for any contact between customer and associate while also securely enabling customers to open a new account with minimal risk. These types of platforms encrypt customer data so that they can trust the set up process completely. So rather than a customer walking through the door of your physical branch or store, you are creating a digital front door that enables them to easily onboard with your bank or insurance company.

Contactless behaviors are here to stay

Contactless behaviors have led to many positive benefits including increased convenience and safety against COVID-19. With new lockdowns happening around the world and especially as new strains of the virus circulate through society, digital solutions are here to stay. Digital banking is continuing to provide access to millions of customers unable to visit physical branches - presenting opportunities for all sectors to tap into the benefits of digital payments in 2021 and beyond.

Actions you can take:

  • Keep the human touch in touchless: Almost a year into the pandemic, people arguably want nothing more than human interaction. How can you keep the human touch in your touchless digital experiences? Figuring out how to connect people safely increases customer loyalty and satisfaction. How you go about creating a human-centric experience depends on your overall strategy and structure, but there are plenty of ways to creatively add the human touch to your touchless banking experience.
  • Consider the digital enhancements or features most valuable for your business:
    • Mobile app: Some mobile app features are more important now than they were before, and vice versa. As I mentioned in trend #1, Mobiquity’s Friction Report is a proprietary tool that uses artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) to analyze thousands of customer reviews on mobile apps, websites, and similar tools to help businesses see what they’re doing well and where they could use some help.
    • Website: With so much web traffic to customer portals coming from mobile devices, consider the positive impact that a responsive website could have for customers who are accessing their bank account via mobile. This is just one example of many ways that your website could be enhanced to pivot to the new normal.
    • AI/ML: Artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to completely personalize the customer experience and enhance your business by automating much of the work that happens behind the scenes. 
    • Conversational AI: From a chatbot that can provide fast and reliable customer service to integrating your offering with Alexa or Google for voice engagement, this is another touchless option available to you and your customers. 

What do you think about these trends? Are you utilizing your digital banking offerings to their fullest potential? Contact Mobiquity now for your digital banking consulting needs.

Contact us ––>

  1. https://www.mobiquity.com/banking-friction-report 
  2. https://www.mobiquity.com/our-solutions/what-is-a-friction-report  
  3. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/banking/banking-after-covid-19-the-rise-of-contactless-payments-in-the-u-s/
  4. https://creditcards.usnews.com/articles/why-your-wallet-is-safer-than-your-real-one#:~:text=Making%20contactless%20payments%20with%20your,plastic%20cards%20can't%20match

Matt Williamson

As an experienced turnaround manager and entrepreneur, Matt Williamson is Vice President of Global Financial Services, Mobiquity. Matt joined Mobiquity during COVID-19 to support the company’s growth trajectory and is a specialist in M&A, technology, product integration, strategy, and delivery. Matt’s career demonstrates his international expertise and ability to rise to a diverse array of challenges. Beginning his career as a fraud investigator at Thomas Cook and Travelex, Matt went on to run Travelex’s Global Business Payments Tech for EMEA and won a Sibos innovation of the year for the Geo Payments Network while occupying the role of UK Product Head. Following this, Matt was appointed by Citi Bank as its Senior Vice President of Technology for Treasury Trade Services and EMEA Head of Commercial Prepaid Card Technology. Matt has also been instrumental in the merger of Misys into Finastra, leading a successful hyper-growth strategy as the Global Head of Payments and Cash. In addition, Matt has worked with Fintech start-ups such as CoBa as Global Head of Fintech, and an international payment scale-up, FORM3, as its Director of Customer Success within its Enterprise and Partnership division to build its brand on a global basis. Matt is a thought leader on financial inclusion, the bank of the future, cashless societies, the digital banking experience, sustainability, fraud and security of payments.

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