OPEN BANKING DEMAND TRIPLES DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Over half of lenders have adopted open banking technology in the last 12 months
Rapid digitalisation has ushered in a boom in the use of new consumer-friendly financial tools
The number of people choosing to share their data through open banking has tripled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest statistics from Experian.
In February, Experian’s Open Data Platform saw more than 188 million data sharing requests (up from 47 million in February 2020) – 30% of the 669 million made in the UK overall1. Lenders are also seeing the benefits with recent Experian research finding that 57% of lenders have adopted open banking technology in the last 12 months, helping people manage their finances in more fluid and intuitive ways online.
An accelerated shift towards digital banking has seen a greater number of people taking advantage of a new wave of convenient apps and services that can help them manage their finances. As a result of the pandemic, many people have turned to digital – as accessing branches, or using cash, became increasingly difficult, particularly during lockdown.
Research showed one in five UK adults started using online banking powered apps during lockdown. Over half of Britons (54%) now say they now use them regularly2.
Lisa Fretwell, Managing Director of Data Services at Experian, said: “We’ve seen an incredible boom in digital financial tools over the course of 2020, especially when it comes to open banking powered services. People are increasingly understanding the ways their financial data can help them manage their finances more productively. They’re increasingly calling on it to support their financial management and planning – more of a priority than ever as we face into a second year of potential economic upheaval.”
The use of these financial digital apps and services offer people new insights that can help them manage their money and access better products that they may not have been able to access before. Many of these services are also personalised or tailored to someone’s individual behaviours or lifestyles, offering a much better user experience.
In the future, other sources of financial data, such as mortgages, investment accounts, pensions and insurance, would help people manage their entire financial footprint in one central place. It would also help them save with automated switching and renewal service personalised to their circumstances, get faster, cheaper finance, or tailored debt advice.
The launch of Experian Boost in November has also been a major factor in the surge of open banking requests.
The new, free service has allowed more people to take control of their credit score by voluntarily adding further information about their everyday financial activity, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription payments, via open banking – an industry first. This has become an important tool to help improve people’s chances of access to affordable credit, especially those seeking to soften the financial blow caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fretwell, continues: “Open banking has the potential to do so much good – transforming the way people manage their money, helping them plan for the future with confidence. The next step is about moving as an industry to help build understanding about the benefits of these tools, so that everyone can feel confident in how and when they want to share their data, and the value they get in return.”
David Beardmore, Ecosystem Development Developer, Open Banking Implementation Entity said: “The are more than three million active users of Open banking and a growing number of fintech providers helping consumers and SMEs tackle and manage their day-to-day personal and business finance needs. Open banking is a safe and secure way to share your financial data and it’s great to see from this research that more people benefiting from the technology in the current climate.”
Experian’s Open Data Platform is currently being used by over 200 organisations and the technology has allowed credit card and auto finance providers, rental property agencies, mortgage lenders and gaming companies to better assess whether services are affordable for their customers.
Sustainable transformation in the energy sector: econnext AG focuses on scale-ups
- Scale-ups rather than start-ups: scaling market-ready technologies and companies for a sustainable transformation of the energy and technology sectors
- Profitable markets for renewable energy as the basis for a successful energy transition
- econnext AG as Founding Member of Invest.Green – institutionalising and scaling the potential of green investment
Sustainability in every sense of the word, ClimateTech and economic success: these terms describe the investment philosophy of econnext AG. The parent company of several ESG-oriented companies for the development of green technologies focuses on so-called scale-ups. They differentiate themselves from start-ups as their products and services have already reached full market maturity and they are ready for market expansion. A decisive factor in the selection of investments by econnext AG is the potential for synergies among of the scale-ups among each other. This holistic approach enables econnext group to think of innovations in a networked way and thus to decisively advance solutions for climate neutrality.
Given the need to reach climate neutrality by 2045 in Germany and by 2050 in the European Union there is no more time to lose in the energy transition. The significant fossil fuel price spikes and supply disruptions put further pressure on markets. With targeted investments in scale-ups, econnext AG is committed to practical solutions to these challenges. Sabrina Schulz, PhD, board member of econnext emphasises: “We now need a consistent shift away from all fossil fuels. This clears the way for existing renewable and green technologies to be successfully deployed. econnext AG has made it its mission to support young ClimateTech companies in establishing themselves on the market.”
econnext AG is currently invested in seven scale-ups. As an industrial management holding company, econnext focuses on two essential factors: innovative and scalable technologies as well as a positive effect on climate, environment and society in terms of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The portfolio ranges from companies in the B2B sector, such as Circular Carbon, which specialises in green heat and biochar, or the energy project developer GRIPS, to B2B4C companies such as Autarq, a provider of solar roof tiles.
Since January 2023, econnext AG is also a Founding Member of Invest.Green, a membership-based network of companies, retail investors, their financial advisors and other key players in the emerging green economy. Dr. Matthew Kiernan, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Invest.Green: “Our corporate goal is to make green investing accessible to all segments of the population and to channel capital into environmentally sound and financially attractive projects. Partnering with pioneering companies like econnext brings us an important step closer to these goals.”
In addition to a diversified portfolio with a clear, sustainable and market-ready focus, econnext AG relies not least on synergies between its subsidiaries: The subsidiary Ambibox, for example, already produces solar inverters that are used for Autarq’s PV systems, among others. Another subsidiary, LUMENION, can store renewable energy using a special power-to-heat technology and make it available as industrial process heat. The interplay of the various solutions demonstrates the objective of econnext AG: the successful establishment of innovative and scalable technologies with a positive and sustainable effect on climate, environment and society on the market.
“The transformation of the energy sector goes hand in hand with great investment opportunities in Germany and Europe,” says Sabrina Schulz, board member of econnext AG. ” Climate neutrality relies on innovation and new business models – and young tech companies and their solutions are already waiting in the wings to make it happen.”
Why the future is phygital
By Eric Megret-Dorne, Head of Card Issuance Services and Service Operations at Giesecke + Devrient
Digital banking has become increasingly ingrained in people’s everyday lives. Today, 73% of people globally use online banking at least once a month. Traditional bricks-and-mortar banks, which have long relied on the in-person experience with customers, are now having to step up their offering. With new ways of working blurring the work-home boundary, banks must ensure a fast, seamless connection between face-to-face processes and virtual customer experiences.
However, this does not mean that physical and digital banking are in competition with each other. In fact, many continue to use physical bank cards, with 1.12 billion in circulation in 2021, which provides the basis for digital payments and offerings. As a result, the benefits of digitalisation should converge with the comfort of physical touchpoints to create a holistic, “phygital” experience.
The path to phygital
Banks are accelerating their digital transformation strategies to keep up with the fast pace of fintech innovations. To meet the changing needs and preferences of customers, the payment world is leveraging new technologies to create personalised experiences through a range of different channels.
While the digitalisation of banking has been underway for quite some time – particularly for younger generations – events such as the Covid-19 crisis forced banks and customers of all ages to use digital tools and processes to compensate for branch, office, and call centre closures. With branches worldwide typically operating at reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements, consumers embraced online banking to avoid both the virus and potentially long queues.
However, some consumers still enjoy physical touchpoints, meaning a digital-only approach won’t suit everyone.
Striking a balance
It’s all about options – consumers now want to freely switch between traditional and digital channels without being forced into one. But how can banks achieve this phygital balance? One way is to equip physical channels with digital capabilities, so that online tools can augment the physical experience. For example, personalised bank cards with a bespoke design can be activated digitally, offering customers an extra layer of convenience. Having to wait for a new PIN to arrive in the mail is a common bugbear for consumers, so bringing card activation processes into the digital ecosystem will ensure a more seamless experience.
Greater automation in the card issuance and activation process enables the benefits of digital to be integrated into the physical banking experience without being intrusive. For instance, self-service kiosks empower customers to print their own cards, reducing the time between acquisition and card issuance, while still allowing for in-branch expertise if needed.
The personal touch
Phygital strategies also give banks a range of valuable data insights that can help them better serve their customers. This includes data on purchasing behaviours and habits, which can then be utilised to improve banks’ offerings and unify the physical and digital brand experience. Using omnichannel data helps to build a hyperpersonalisation strategy to provide real-time services.
In this way, digital solutions help banks maximise their user experience. Whenever a consumer interact with a bank, it creates data and behaviours. With fragmented databases, legacy systems and real-time data created by interactions with third-party partners through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), it is not always easy for banks to streamline this data from different sources. By understanding patterns in that data and behaviours, banks can tailor and personalise unique experiences for each and every user.
Where security meets innovation
With big data opportunities abound, banks should be mindful of their consumers’ security concerns. Customers are now demanding much more transparency when it comes to how information is stored and collected. At the same time, they still desire greater personalisation via digital methods. Therefore, any successful phygital strategy requires a robust digital security to ensure customers have the same peace of mind as when they complete physical transactions.
To close the gap between innovation and security, banks should utilise tokenised infrastructure, which ensures the safe provision of payment credentials and securing of customer payments across all touchpoints. This is particularly important as regulations such as PSD2 and SCA demand strong authentication requirements.
The use of a token greatly enhances the consumer experience. For example, it allows for card details to be automatically updated for subscription services upon the expiry of an existing one, avoiding any service disruption. Multi-factor authentication can also ensure an additional layer of security, as it combines a password with verifiable human biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition.
Best of both worlds
Every consumer has unique preferences when it comes to banking. Therefore, banks must evolve by bringing both physical and virtual touchpoints into a ‘phygital’ world. Only a phygital approach can meet the needs of all end users – whether they favour an in-person experience, an online one, or a blend of the two. The holistic data insights, personalisation opportunities, and optimised security ensured at every touchpoint are also critical in building future-ready banks.
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