A survey of UK consumers by digital banking solutions provider CREALOGIX has uncovered trends in the adoption of mobile-first challenger banks.
There’s a quiet revolution happening in banking. A survey of 2,000 UK consumers commissioned by CREALOGIX has found 1 in 4 under 37s have confirmed they are using digital-only challenger banks and 14 per cent of UK bank customers across all age groups have at least one mobile-only digital banking provider. Up to a third of under 37s have two or more accounts with challenger banks.
While the major banks maintain their dominant market share of current accounts at 87%, the digital-only banks are gaining ground amid high levels of activity in new account opening. 44% of survey respondents have opened at least one new bank account in the last 5 years, increasing to almost 80% of Gen-Zs.
61% of UK bank account customers are thinking about opening an account with a new provider in the next three years. This trend increases with Millennials and Gen Zs, with 75% looking to open a new account in the next three years. Take up of the digital-only challenger banks is three times higher amongst these age groups, demonstrating the extent to which the preferences of the digitally-savvy younger generations are driving the disruption of the market.
The research also suggests newcomers are picking up market share at a rapid pace. German challenger bank N26 feature in the survey results even though they only just launched in the UK in October 2018. 3% of Gen-Zs and 2.5% of Millennials surveyed said they have an N26 account, which would include people who signed up for early access or are still on a waiting list.
The survey of 2,000 consumers by CREALOGIX also revealed the most popular mobile-only digital challenger banks: Starling, Revolut and Monzo – Monzo being the most popular for the under 37s. (While Starling Bank and Monzo are licenced banks in the UK, Revolut currently operates via an e-money licence in the UK and uses passporting to distribute its offering across other European Union markets.)
Preferences changed markedly for older respondents, which overallare much less likely to use a challenger bank – only 6% of over-55s said they had an account with one of the leading challenger brands. Those who do have accounts with challengers preferred to use Revolut and Atom Bank.
After the financial crisis of 2008, market share of the major high street banks concentrated, with over 80% (and at times as much as 90%) of personal current accounts (PCAs) held in only the biggest six firms. Soon after this a YouGov survey (2013) on public trust in banking found that consumer satisfaction was at an all-time low.
The new CREALOGIX research asked UK challenger bank customerswhat they liked best about their bank. Customers repeatedly highlighted ease of use, customer experience, accessibility, flexibility and innovative functionality such as the ability to lock bank cards temporarily, and get mobile notifications and visual summaries about spending activity.
When asked what they liked about using a digital challenger bank, one interviewee said: “This is probably the easiest account I have opened. It’s the only account I have where you can nominate the date your interest is paid and that predicts the amount of interest due for entire term of deposit”.
Another interviewee said: “I love how easy it is to use, how I can freeze my card and alter my settings on the fly and use the card freely abroad. I love my Monzo and Starling accounts because they are easy to use and easily accessible. They help me to budget my money and achieve saving goals.”
Jo Howes, Commercial Director at CREALOGIX UK, said: “The big question of fintech in the UK has been whether the new banks could eat into the highly centralised market share of the top tier banks. We are now seeing figures that clearly show the challenger banks are making rapid progress and gaining market share. The figures and rate of change are enough now to make incumbents sit up and take notice. Our research shows that consumers are attracted to the convenience, usability, and personalisation available from the challengers. To respond to the challenge, established banks need to accelerate their digital transformation and prioritise customer-oriented features and benefits.”
Anton Zdziebczok, Head of Product Strategy at CREALOGIXUK, said: “When they announced a limited beta launch recently, N26 had over 50,000 new UK customers on a waiting list. We are used to seeing lines around the block for new iPhone releases, but this is surprising for a bank account. For the first time, people are actually excited about what’s on offer from a bank. This is no accident because the challengers are using consumer-oriented design and marketing strategies to reimagine what banking can look and feel like. The question for incumbents – including both bank and building societies – is how they can transform their own offerings into something with enough appeal to compete with this influx of innovative competitors.”
The independent study was undertaken by Censuswide between 7-12 November 2018. It interviewed 2,000 18-65 year olds who currently have a bank account.
Media and industry specialists who wish to find out more about digital banking solutions from CREALOGIX can book a consultation via their website at: https://crealogix.com/uk/products/crealogix-digital-banking-hub/
THE CO-BRAND CREDIT CARD MARKET – SINK OR SWIM
By Chris Vinnicombe, VP Financial Services at Acxiom
The co-brand credit card market is the result of the partnerships between many of the world’s largest credit card issuers and consumer goods businesses like airlines, hotels, and retailers. By leveraging existing technology investments in digital, data, and analytics, the co-brand credit card market has attracted affluent consumers over the years. Indeed, it has remained a powerful component of retail loyalty programmes and strategies that generate revenue not only for the issuer, but for retail partners as well.
The market today
Historically, rewards have been critical to retaining and attracting consumers. However, businesses are increasingly finding that this benefit alone is not enough. In today’s world of data, one-size-fits-all loyalty programmes show little customer intimacy, since they don’t pay attention to individual attitudes, behaviours, and expectations.
Co-branded credit cards have faced competitor pressure to sweeten the rewards pot to draw customer traffic and differentiate their card programmes. Above that when consumers around the world are used to relevant adverts, offers and suggestions, the market increasingly seems out of touch when the offers don’t hit the mark.
It is now time for credit card companies to take a hard look at their proposition to determine which offerings consumers still value and to create benefits that are digital first, easy to use and truly relevant to how they live.
Increasing cardholder engagement
Today, engagement has become a significant part of this challenge. Cardholder engagement is critical in the market since it measures who has an active relationship with their card, rather than those where it sits unused at the bottom of a draw.
One of the issues is that many cardholders feel they are of little interest to the card issuer after starting the relationship. When offerings remain the same and don’t reflect consumer lifestyle changes, it leads to a decline in spend and balance activity.
For example, if a person is consistently purchasing long-haul, luxury summer holidays on their card and receiving a reward of discounts on Christmas staycations it just won’t be claimed. Ultimately, if the user isn’t likely to claim a reward it defeats the whole point of user offerings in the first place and will lead to a decay in the relationship over time.
To change this dynamic, card issuers need to focus on becoming far more customer-centric, addressing pain points, fulfilling desires and engaging with the consumer as an individual. Whether they are frequent travellers, trend setters, have an affinity to luxury products, cash back collectors, etc. Keeping up with interests and offering tailored rewards will create a more personalised experiences for customers and increase loyalty.
Customer experience – reach for the skies
A key example of this is the airline sector. Co-branded credit cards play an important role for airlines and their card issuers, each of which benefit from credit card engagement and purchasing behaviour. The cards also play an integral role in frequent flyer programmes, helping drive flyer loyalty.
Nowadays, airline customer interactions can come through many channels like customer service centres, online travel agencies, websites, and more which can create a complex ecosystem of customer data. The co-brand card partners see significant transaction data that identifies travel activity and purchasing patterns that are strong triggers for airline marketing programmes. All these interactions generate crucial information on passenger needs and preferences that enable up-sell/cross-sell, pricing and preferred experiences (i.e. early boarding or flight update notifications).
For the co-brand credit card market to work, partners need to work together seamlessly. Sharing customer information is vital to the interwoven marketing capabilities needed to be successful.
It all starts with the data foundation. A shared space for data to be safe provides a privacy-compliant environment that allows marketers and partners to connect different types of data while protecting and governing its use. This is the bread and butter for people-based marketing that enables partners to engage consumers across today’s highly fragmented landscape of channels and devices.
These data safe havens provide the ability to ingest customer records from partners, as well as core campaign and engagement logs used where businesses can measure and analyse success. This data can also be enhanced by third-party sources (demographic data, propensity models) to enrich the view of the consumer and create new insights to support new audience creation for marketing programmes.
However, organising, managing, and deriving insights from large sets of consumer data is complicated. To overcome this, companies should rely on connectivity solutions that integrate data to provide a single view of the customer. These identity resolution services resolve first-, second-, and third-party data, exposure and transaction data to represent real people in a privacy-compliant way.
Having this omnichannel view of the consumer can then be utilised to support consumer targeting, personalisation, and measurement bettering the offering to the user and maintaining relevance in the customer’s wallet.
Ultimately, data is helping the co-brand credit card market to stay relevant to consumers today. It is no longer enough to offer one-size-fits-all rewards to card users as competition in the industry hots up. Increasing customer loyalty and engagement is name of the game and using data from across both partners is helping firms to be more competitive, responsive and personalised than ever to drive new business uptake while keeping existing customers coming back for more.
FOUR WAYS OPEN BANKING AND AI WILL REVOLUTIONISE ACCOUNTANCY
Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of cloud accounting software company, FreeAgent
It’s been just over two years since the term Open Banking became a tangible reality in the UK. Since then, the nine largest banks and building societies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have signed up to take part in the initiative, meaning they must allow regulated businesses to access their customers’ financial data, as long as the customer has provided permission.
Open Banking was imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority to spur competition between banks and make customers’ banking information more accessible to third parties. And this phenomenon has already been transformative for accountancy, providing third-party financial service providers standard ways to access consumer banking transactions, and other data from financial institutions – a seamless alternative to the teetering piles of paperwork traditionally associated with accounting. Paired with other new innovative technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), Open Banking has the power to change the day-to-day lives of accountants and more broadly, the world of finance.
This article examines the fundamental ways Open Banking and AI can and are already being utilised by accountants.
Real Time Insights
Through the use of Open Banking, accountants can have real-time access to their clients’ most up-to-date banking data every single day. This means no more chasing clients for the necessary information that you need to do your usual day-to-day work. This also benefits your clients, as they can continue with their daily workload knowing that their bank transactions are being shared with you directly, accurately and automatically. Suddenly their do-list looks a bit shorter!
Traditionally, accountants have had to deal with an enormous amount of paperwork, including invoices, expense receipts, bank statements and other important documents. Combined across the profession, this amounts to mountains of paper that have to be analysed and filed. One of the greatest benefits of technology and digital accounting is that it alleviates the stress of keeping important information in physical files. As well as less mess in the office, this means invoices, expenses, receipts can be kept in one place – online. This enables accountants to be more efficient on a day-to-day basis as they are able to easily find documentation by simply typing in what they are looking for to search for it.
Luckily for accountants, and also for the environment, Open Banking and cloud software platforms ensure that important data can transfer seamlessly and safely between your bank and your financial accounts. Already, cloud accounting software makes it possible to have one tidy dashboard that gives an overview of the business in its entirety. As well as being the guardian of files, using technology to set up a bank feed will allow accountants to track incomings and outgoings, link invoices and payments and view interactive charts of all their clients’ accounts.
Working from anywhere
The last five years have seen the progression to flexible working increase significantly. Millennials in particular have a desire to work out of the office. A survey conducted with over 19,000 working Millennials across 25 countries revealed their top five priorities when looking for a job, with 79% stating flexible working was a must. Further analysis from BBC 5 Live revealed a 74% jump in the number of people working from home between 2008 and 2018.
As well as the natural increase in the number of people working remotely, accountancy is one of the many professions being affected by the current turbulence being caused by the Covid-19 virus. This month, the government announced everyone should work from home if they can. Now, more than ever, people are away from the traditional office space and working instead from the confines of their own home, with technology acting as the glue that in many cases is keeping their business together. For accountants this means remote access to financial data is an absolute essential.
Add consultancy to the equation
With more efficient processes and easier methods of making and tracking transactions, technology and Open Banking will ultimately free up a whole lot of time for the accountants. Clearing up the calendar will make room for new kinds of work and enable accountants to spend more time on consultancy and value-added services, where previously these may have been perceived as a bonus service or from the client-side, a service at a much larger additional cost.
As well as consultancy, these technologies will have other, less direct impacts on the client-side. For example instead of needing a shoebox full of receipts, Open Banking and AI will lead to more confident and self-managed clients. If a client is keeping accurate books themselves, then the accountant no longer has to do all of the numerical admin. Rather, the value add lies in providing higher-level insights around the numbers and offering useful advice such as “it is time to put your prices up, as your profits are lower this year“.
Ultimately, AI and Open Banking are opening the gateway to a more efficient and effective accountancy industry. While benefiting the clients by making new space for consultancy and added value services, new technology ultimately streamlines an accountants’ entire job. Because they are constantly dealing with stacks of financial information, the consequences of misplacement of one document or inefficiently tracking systems hold higher stakes than usual. Luckily there is no need for accountants to grapple with old-school methodology anymore as AI and Open Banking are already readily available and at their fingertips.
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