By Edwin Abi, CMO, Modulr
It has been 11 years since the 2008 financial crisis. And in that time, the ‘financial services house’ has now finally been remodelled; welcome to newly installed marble countertops, wooden floors, and hot coral drapes. The guests are all pleased. But behind closed doors, the plumbing and wiring might not be quite up to scratch.
While there are now cheaper FX transfers, simpler mobile banking and colourful debit cards – even the banks have updated their apps UX – unfortunately, in remodelling the ‘financial services house’, fintech’s have missed the doorbell, the fire alarm, and the plumbing. The infrastructure the house is built on is integral to keep money and services flowing, but its foundations are shaky.
But this is changing. The next wave of fintech innovation lies in continuing to improve everything the end consumer doesn’t see – KYC/ KYB processes, compliance monitoring, and payment infrastructure, among others.
Installing the wiring
That’s because for too long, the wiring has been neglected. And we can see this neglect in the simple process of opening a banking app or signing up for a new account. When customers log on to their banking apps they are presented with a fast and slick IOS – easy to navigate and responsive. However, the truth about what goes on behind that isn’t so slick. In the case of KYC and KYB there are often still a lot of manual processes that need to be checked. This means there’s a mismatch between a digital first business, and a paper trail of spreadsheets, file uploads, and manual processes.
A truly digital payments infrastructure means any back-end services will be supported by APIs and computers talking to each other. For example, when Revolut opens an account on the front-end, the customer is greeted with a new account page, but they might not be able to move any money until KYC is completed. At the back-end, the server then sends an API to Modulr which generates a sort code and account number straight away. There is no manual intervention needed at all.
B2B banking might also have had a face lift on the outside, but it’s still a shell of a house behind closed doors. The problem is that in the short term no one has really solved how to onboard sophisticated companies automatically – those with multiple levels of management and large number of employees – with KYB and KYC measures in mind.
Bringing in the contractors
Maybe all that is needed is a good contractor to fit those wires, and make sure the doorbell and fire alarm are all working. But even though it’s tempting to say that you can fix something by collaborating with someone else, the reality might not be as easy. As much as a third-party vendor which specialises in payments, KYC, or payroll, for example, can be brought in, those making the decisions on the back-office end still need to understand exactly what these ‘contractors’ are actually doing. And there are a number of business courses on payroll, KYC and the likes, to help educate organisations.
But the real reason why these digital-first offerings will really win out in this remodeling contest is because they have the tech aspects sorted. Fintechs specialising in the pipes, for example, will help to dramatically reduce costs to serve, as well help to increase uptimes. So there is a real opportunity for players like Onfido (ID verification), Finastra (risk management) and Modulr (infrastructure) to become the leading fintech providers’ final piece of the puzzle to deliver an unbeatable customer experience – beautiful new drapes, and sufficient heating all through the house.
This is the real promise of digital. FinTechs have built a beautiful home, and it’s now time to flick on those switches and make sure everything behind closed doors works seamlessly too.
AI: CUSTOMER FACING EMPLOYEES’ BEST FRIEND IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
By Ryan Lester, Senior Director, Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn
We’ve all heard the old saying “money talks.” Well when it comes to customer loyalty and retention, good customer experience talks much louder, with 30% of customers leaving a brand and never returning due to a bad experience.
The truth is, there are a lot of companies with similar products and services, but that doesn’t mean that differentiation is impossible. So, what’s the solution? For financial services, large and small, customer experience is becoming the key competitive differentiator and the best way to deliver an impactful experience is to empower customer-facing employees to do their best work. Artificial intelligence (AI) is enabling these employees to create remarkably better customer experiences, resulting in customer loyalty, advocacy, and overall growth.
For financial institutions that have been considering new strategies for improving the quality and efficiency of their customer experience, here are a few ways AI can enable them to deliver the “human factor” that good customer experience demands whilst ensuring customer facing employees can provide a more positive experience for customers.
Increase employee productivity
How much of employees’ time is spent searching for answers to questions? Do they ever have to put customers on hold or even step away to get additional help? AI helps provide front-line employees real-time guidance so they can spend less time looking for information and more time solving problems. An AI-powered chatbot, for example, can be listening in the background of a conversation helping point employees to the right data, solutions, and processes to resolve customer issues faster than ever before.
Deliver a consistent customer experience
When banking customers engage with their financial institutions, they measure the speed and accuracy of the service through two criteria. First, how quickly can the system access their account and deliver the correct information? Is it faster than a human could type it in and share it? And second, if they eventually do need to be connected to a live customer support agent, is their information captured and passed along accurately? AI technology takes those general queries off the customer support team’s plate, providing a quick, accurate, and effective response. If a query needs a more in-depth response, AI can hand it off to support staff to address.
Not only this but leveraging a centralised, AI-powered knowledge solution ensures every employee has access to the same, updated information, so no matter who the customer speaks to, they can be assured that employee responses are both consistent and accurate across the board.
Accelerating employee training and onboarding
Like any industry, employee turnover is inevitable and can be costly. But, not training new employees correctly or in a timely manner could be much more costly. When it comes to financial services there is a lot to learn, whether it is something simple like the process for checking an account balance to all the nuances associated with mortgage loans. AI can support on-the-job training by helping new employees answer questions confidently, correctly, and much quicker than they could before.
Improving employee satisfaction
Today’s banking customer has all kinds of new ideas about their banking experience. “The Amazon Effect” has successfully raised consumer expectations to the extent that a consistent, personal, and relevant experience is the new normal. As a customer, how many times have you been told “I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer?” Customers want solutions to their problems and employees want to be able to deliver those solutions as efficiently and effectively as possible. AI assisting in the background helps minimise those negative moments – making employees job easier, less stressful, and overall more enjoyable.
Identify knowledge gaps
Do you know all the questions employees are getting asked? Do you know what’s easily answered and what’s not? Real-time insights allow knowledge managers to keep up to date on frequently asked questions and gaps in current resources. This allows them to strategically improve or add content where needed.
Augmenting customer service
Whether talking with an AI chatbot or a personable customer service team member, the modern banking customer has high expectations for convenience, speed, and security. Which means that the technology you choose to deploy and how you deploy it is now just as important as who you hire and how you train them.
Today’s AI solutions won’t replace customer service agents or get in the way of the human factors that drive the customer experience. On the contrary, they augment it, allowing the business to do more without adding human resources. The higher the quality of a AI chatbot solution, the better it will be at taking the routine requests off the plate of customer service agents—giving them more time to provide a personalized and positive experience for customers.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CASHFLOW DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
By Rita Cool, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes Financial Planning Consultants
The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is as yet unknown, but individuals have already begun to have their lives disrupted by the country’s economic shutdown, with retrenchments, salary cuts and forced unpaid leave making them take stock of their financial position.
The basic principles of financial planning are especially relevant at this time, but in the short term, cash flow is more important to many people.
To help safeguard you and your family’s financial security, here are some tips to follow to make sure you’re making your money work hard for you:
- Draw up a budget – this is especially relevant if you’re worried about possible retrenchment of yourself or your partner. This will help you know how much you need to cover your basic living expenses and where you can save money. Don’t only look at what you need to spend money on, but also when you think you will need that money. Perhaps you paid school fees upfront at the beginning of the year, or your car registration is only due again next year.
- Check your bank fees. Are you in the best structure for your needs? Are you paying for services that you never use? Consider moving banks to get a better deal.
- Banks have waived the Saswitch fee payable for withdrawing cash at another ATM other than your own bank, but if you’re doing this, be aware of when this switches back as you can end up paying almost double the bank fees.
- Did you know that you start paying interest immediately if you draw cash from a credit card and that you do not get three or six months’ interest free?
- Go through your house while you have extra time and identify potential items which you could sell, as this will free up cash.
- Where possible, pay cash for items as the interest rate on hire purchase items is very high and you pay around 20% more for those items than the sticker price. If you cannot afford the item and you don’t need it right now, wait.
- Look around for bargains online rather than driving around. There are some good sales on, and you can support businesses that need your help.
- At the same time, be aware of spending extra cash you could be saving towards your financial safety net. There are lots of deals available, so balance the need for the 70% off bikini or new laptop with being cautious about the future.
- Use store coupons and discount vouchers. The main food retailers have loyalty programme structures that can be tailored to your specific spending patterns. Make sure you claim point or vouchers but look out for monthly costs to belong to a rewards program. Ask yourself if your monthly savings validate the cost. Optimally a reward scheme shouldn’t cost you money.
- Check with your insurance company if your premium can be reduced because you’re driving less during lockdown.
- Check your current insurances. Do an insurance rebroke. Make sure you are covered for what you need and take things off the list that you do not have any more and add what you have bought since the last update. Make sure you are not under or over insured and that your premium is market related. The cheapest premium isn’t always the best so be aware of exclusions and excesses and make sure you can afford the excess if you need to claim.
- In most cases you can reduce your monthly insurance premiums by not having a cash pay-out in the future. If you want a pay-out, save the extra premium in an investment product, not a risk product.
- Be wary of consolidating debt. You might pay a lower interest rate but it might well be over a longer period so the total interest paid will be higher. If you have debt issues, set up a debt plan with dates and goals to reduce the debt little by little. Do not give up.
- Be aware that payment holidays are not a free loan, you still owe the money and you’re paying interest on it. Check with your service provider.
Remember that the pandemic will pass. Try not to panic as this may lead to rash financial decisions, which could have an impact on your finances later down the line.
AI: CUSTOMER FACING EMPLOYEES’ BEST FRIEND IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
By Ryan Lester, Senior Director, Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn We’ve all heard the old saying “money talks.” Well...
HOW IDENTITY IS SECURELY UNLOCKING THE SME BANKING MARKET
By Mike Kiser, senior identity strategist at SailPoint Have an identification card in your wallet? With a selfie and a...
FIVE REASONS WHY YOUR BUSINESS’ PROCUREMENT TEAM SHOULD BE USING A CONTRACT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
By Daniel Ball, business development director at Wax Digital Even in today’s digital-first environment some businesses are still storing...
EXEGER – CHANGING THE PERCEPTION OF POWER
FINASTRA GLOBAL SURVEY SHOWS APPETITE FOR OPEN BANKING PICKING UP PACE WORLDWIDE
86% of global banks surveyed are looking to use open APIs to enable Open Banking capabilities in the next 12...
STOCK MARKET ANALYSTS DISCUSS HOW TO INVEST DURING A RECESSION
Online tool looks back at how world markets recovered after the last recession in 2008 Analysts take learnings from previous...
PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST A RECESSION
James Turner, Director at Turner Little The coronavirus outbreak has spread to businesses, leaving many around the world counting...
LIBERTY BANK REINFORCES ITS FRAUD STRATEGY TO FURTHER PROTECT ITS CUSTOMERS
Liberty Bank, the third largest bank in the Georgia, has reinforced its fraud strategy to address the rising volume of...
COMMERCIAL FINANCE SPECIALIST IGF NAVIGATES THE LOCKDOWN
Leading independent commercial finance specialist, Independent Growth Finance (IGF), entered the lockdown after a record-breaking financial year came to an end in March. In April, it was accredited by...
COVID-19 WILL BE THE TIPPING POINT FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN PROCUREMENT
Seven in ten organisations in the UK say the global pandemic has increased the need for procurement to digitally transform...
TRIO OF NEW REGIONAL DIRECTORS HEAD UP TIGERWIT’S GLOBAL EXPANSION
Following the release of their record revenue for the last financial year, award-winning online trading platform, TigerWit, has strengthened their...
SECURING THE EVIDENCE FOR VAT AND TAX
Filippa Jörnstedt, Senior Regulatory Counsel at Sovos Businesses are almost entirely digital in their nature. With sophisticated technology now...
TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CASHFLOW DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
By Rita Cool, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes Financial Planning Consultants The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is...
RETAILERS WHO OPEN THEIR DOORS WILL NEED EXTRA HELP
With thousands of retail stores given the green light to open in the next few weeks the government needs to...
LEADING BANK IN TURKEY USES ONESPAN’S MOBILE APP SECURITY SOLUTION TO HANDLE DOUBLING OF DEMAND FROM COVID-19
OneSpan’s scalability helps DenizBank protect millions of mobile banking users as the coronavirus pandemic drives massive increase in hacking attacks...
KASKO PARTNERS WITH VIVIUM TO LAUNCH FULLY DIGITAL BIKE INSURANCE IN BELGIUM
Vivium, a member of the P&V Group, turned to the InsurTech provider to build an omni-channel and bilingual insurance product,...
THE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE BETWEEN MINSAIT AND AURIGA WILL PROVIDE AN INNOVATIVE OMNICHANNEL PLATFORM FOR A SUPERIOR BANKING EXPERIENCE
Minsait, an Indra company, and Auriga have reached a strategic agreement that will strengthen their position in the digital transformation...
INFORMAL PUBLIC TRANSPORT: FRONT-LINE MOBILITY HEROES
By Devin de Vries, CEO, Where Is My Transport Every week, 5 billion commuters in emerging markets have no...
FIXING THE FLAWS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES’ DATA MANAGEMENT
Simon Cole, CEO at Automated Intelligence, a cloud-based data compliance and governance solutions provider to the financial services sector, warns FS...
FROM MANUAL TO MACHINE LEARNING: HOW TO APPROACH THE RECONCILIATION ‘PROBLEM’
By Christian Nentwich, CEO at Duco At the start of 2020, before the global coronavirus pandemic changed the world,...