Connect with us

Banking

WHY BRANDS NEED TO TREAD CAREFULLY AROUND CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Published

on

Jacqueline Junke, UK Market Lead at Appinio

 

Throughout the pandemic, people have turned to many fads including banana bread, Tiger King and Clubhouse. One lockdown trend, however, that isn’t set to be a fad is crypto. Over the past year and a half, digital currencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin have turned from the passions of a few fanatics to a mainstream phenomenon. In fact, Dogecoin’s stock skyrocketed 800% earlier this year, despite starting out as a joke.

Moreover, even though they have been around since 2014, NFTs or non-fungible tokens have suddenly become a status symbol for those looking to own or show off their digital art. A recent report found that the NFT market quadrupled in 2020, with the total value of transactions increasing by 299 per cent year-on-year to more than $250 million.

However, despite the growth in cryptocurrency and NFTs during the pandemic, questions about the future of Bitcoin and other digital currencies still remain. For example, we at global market research platform Appinio found in a survey of 1000 Brits that over a third (36%) of those that invest admit to not fully understanding how cryptocurrencies work. We also found that only one in four (25%) feel able to easily explain it to other people.

For brands thinking of entering the NFT and cryptocurrency market, the lack of understanding of blockchain and crypto might seem shocking, as people should know what they are spending their hard-earned cash on. However, our research found that word of mouth is key to the sudden growth in crypto over the pandemic. Family and friends are the first port of call with 54% of 16-24 year-olds stating this followed by 41% of 55-65 year-olds.

While people can rely on the questionable advice of a family member or a friend for investment, brands thinking of launching an altcoin or an NFT can’t be as flippant. Lack of information around the dangers can land brands in hot water with regulators and politicians. For example, online brokerage RobinHood has faced increased scrutiny from politicians in Washington following the surge of crypto traders on the platform.

 

The sustainability issue

Another question surrounding the future of cryptocurrencies is their lack of sustainability. For instance, coins such as Bitcoin have come under increased pressure in recent months following stories around the environmentally damaging process of mining coins.

Bitcoin mining is a deeply energy-intensive process, in which a computer solves a complex series of algorithms to verify the legitimacy of a single digital coin. While crypto mining could take place on an average computer in 2009, the increase in Bitcoin over the past decade has made the algorithms harder to solve. In fact, the process has become so energy inducing that a study from the University of New Mexico has found that the amount of electricity used to mine Bitcoin is more than the energy output of entire countries.

However, despite the stories around crypto being environmentally damaging, consumers are still trading coins. Our data found that despite 2 in 3 Brits (62%) saying that sustainability is very important to them, only 40% of those who invest in cryptocurrencies say that sustainability is a priority. In fact, just under half (42%) of investors admit they don’t know how sustainable or socially responsible their portfolio is.

Our research also found an interesting contrast between age groups: half of all 35-44 year-olds feel sustainability is important when it comes to financial investments. This drops to 35% of 45-54 year-olds and only 23% of 55-65 year-olds rank it as important.

For brands, Bitcoin’s environmental issues can damage their reputation. Take, for example, Tesla. The electric vehicle powerhouse was in hot water in February, when its CEO, Elon Musk, decided to allow people to purchase vehicles with Bitcoin. With the company also pledging to tackle climate change through electric vehicles, the decision by Musk generated a considerable backlash from politicians and the media.

While cryptocurrency experts attempt to answer sustainability and regulatory questions around Bitcoin and other coins, brands should be wary of getting involved in crypto and NFTs. Our research shows that there is a growing appetite from consumers for all things crypto and that the technology has moved beyond a simple lockdown fad. However, there are dangers in getting embroiled in cryptocurrency scandals and brands that are deciding whenever to invest in NFTs and Bitcoin need to weigh up the rewards against potential backlashes.

Banking

HOW TRADITIONAL INSURERS CAN USE TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS

Published

on

The customer experience with insurance is anomalous, in that one is only required to engage with their insurer if things are going wrong for them. To add value to the relationship, new technology and methods should be adopted, in turn driving loyalty and business growth, writes Oliver Werneyer, CEO and Co-founder of Imburse

Oliver Werneyer

Insurance is one of the oldest industries in the world and it is still, to this day, considered a grudge purchase. Looking back, insurance has a history of having a challenging relationship with its customers. According to an IBM study, in 2008, only 39% of consumers trusted the insurance industry. This percentage has stayed largely similar over the years, having reached only 42% in 2020. For any business with growth ambitions, good customer relationships are crucial.

I believe that now more than ever, the insurance industry not only needs to continue investing in improving relationships with customers, but to really think about new ways of doing so. At a basic level, the moment of truth for an insurance customer is when either they need to pay or are getting paid. Insurers can have the best policy wording, quick claims processes, apps and advisors, but if the experience to pay premiums or to receive a claim is bad, the customer immediately loses trust.

The pandemic has exposed this tenuous relationship between insurers and its customers. The need to move everything online and provide personalised services has exposed significant shortcomings in the service insurers provide. The industry has been too slow to adopt newer technologies and move engagements closer to the customer (self-service and empowered). This is largely due to the legacy systems and processes that insurers failed to modernise over previous years.

This means that the better-positioned incumbents have stronger customer relationships and benefit disproportionately from the pandemic, as they are able to win more new customers and convert customers from other insurers. They also benefit from significantly lower customer acquisition costs and much better growth, as illustrated in this McKinsey report. Even new entrants or InsurTechs are benefitting massively by focusing on improved customer experience and customer relationships.

However, it is never too late for insurers to build better relationships with customers. The main way to build a good relationship with a client is to make life easier, live up to promises and add value through the relationship with them. By working on these key elements, insurers can start building strong relationships with their customers, and, through the right partners, deliver this in a timely and non-disruptive manner.

 

Embedded Services

Insurance products often get a bad reputation because they cost money, but the benefits might only come much later, or never. Customers don’t get to experience a positive relationship with insurance products, either because they never claim and feel like they lost out, or they claim and they’re in a bad situation. By either embedding other services into the insurance experience to deliver a more transactional engagement, or embedding insurance products into general customer experiences such as online shopping or rewards, insurers can enrich customer relationships to generate value.

This way, insurers become a value-adding part of the customers’ everyday activities and not just a product that they have to pay for and may never get anything back from. One example is to embed micro-savings capabilities, often found in banking, into pension savings and insurance products. This can allow customers to save more for pension, attract younger customers and build a portfolio of fiscally disciplined customers.

 

Tailored journeys and personalisation

Customers have come to expect personalised journeys and engagements from product providers. Streaming services, social media, e-commerce or mobility services have shaped the customer expectations. Now, customers are also expecting personalisation for insurers.

Insurers need to invest very heavily in delivering personalisation and customisation to customers as they engage with their products. Failure to deliver this puts renewed strain on the value perceived by the customer and their relationship with the insurer. This applies not only to customer interfaces, but to aspects such as payments. Insurers should make it easy and pleasant for customers to pay and get paid. As the main moment of truth, payment experiences need to work optimally.

 

Perceived customer value metrics and delivery

The value customers derive from insurance products is, generally, monetary. Therefore, insurers must invest in product enhancement to increase its perceived value. Perceived value is not tied to a monetary value. By being able to choose between multiple payment options, such as a $300 pay-out to a bank account or a $320 Amazon voucher, the customer has a higher perceived value of the payment. This can be achieved by leveraging non-insurance products that can be purchased at a discounted price, exclusive access that the customer would otherwise not have or conversion into a form that is more useful to the customer.

Payments, for collection and pay-out, are at the core of delivering this value. An excellent payment experience immediately influences the customer to be positively inclined toward a product (PwC report). In order to offer this, insurers need to leverage multiple technologies and providers, offer any speed of transaction in any market, and deliver faster automation and better risk control. The key is to transform insurance products into transactional value-adds to customers’ lives and use this opportunity to continuously build on relationships with customers.

The main roadblock for insurers is still the operational implications of these activities and the costs that arise. In looking to build a better customer relationship, insurers need to look at partners that are operational enablers to deliver this. Partners that can solve the integration and speed-to-market problem so that insurers are enabled to deliver new capabilities, not bombard them with new ideas and no path to delivery.

Imburse, for instance, enables insurers to access all the global payment providers and technologies available in any market. Through a single connection, insurers can deploy any payment capability into any channel, for collection and pay-outs, without ever again needing to build a direct operational integration to the providers. This gives them full freedom to leverage payments as a key value driver and customer experience enhancer.

Building a better relationship with insurance customers is key for the insurance industry to close the protection gap. Incumbents are in the prime position to look at Insurtech and Fintech partners to rapidly and significantly modernise, digitalise and transform their own capabilities to deliver major enhanced value to their customers.

Imburse is an advanced universal payment connector that enables businesses to gain cost-effective access to complete global payments technology, regardless of the service provider. To learn more, please visit www.imbursepayments.com.

Continue Reading

Banking

UNCHARTED TERRITORY: HOW OPEN BANKING CAN HELP BANKS NAVIGATE COVID CHALLENGES

Published

on

Opinion from Rafa Plantier, Head of UK and Ireland at Tink

The last year has propelled banks, businesses and consumers alike into uncharted territory. Changes which would normally have spanned years were compressed into months. Financial institutions who had already embarked on the path of digital transformation had to accelerate their plans, and customers of all walks of life had to become acquainted with using digital services almost exclusively.

Rafa Plantier

According to our recent research report ‘Open banking in the post-pandemic world’, 41% of European financial executives believe the shift from digital-sometimes to digital-first during the Covid-19 pandemic will be permanent for the financial services industry.

There are two sides to this coin: it’s indisputable that industry and economies have been weakened as a result of Covid-19. A drop in revenues and profits, regulatory challenges, new disruptive market entrants, and low interest rates, all mean that banks are poised in a delicate position. However, open banking represents a significant opportunity for banks transitioning from analogue to digital, and from closed to open. Here are three ways open banking can benefit financial institutions in the post-pandemic world.

 

Putting innovation in the fast-lane

Covid-19 led to a rapid, unforeseen change in consumer behaviour that meant digital innovation became a need-right-now rather than a nice-to-have. Over the last year, financial institutions had to innovate in real time to ensure business continuity and serve their customers as their needs changed swiftly.

The sense of urgency is palpable across the industry. Over two thirds (65%) of financial services executives surveyed agreed that it’s necessary for banks to increase their speed of innovation as a result of the pandemic, and 74% of financial executives believe the pandemic has increased the need to enhance digital services.

Open banking technology can act as a catalyst to innovation and digitalisation. It can enable access to tools and capabilities which are scalable across geographies, lines of business and customer segments. For example, by using techniques such as recycling code or toggling different data-driven services, banks can short-circuit the time to market for their own digital services.

 

Unlocking commercial opportunities

Legacy revenue streams have recently faced downward pressure and profit lines have begun to diminish for banks. Banks now need to ensure their digital ventures are competitive enough to survive in an increasingly crowded digital marketplace.

Open banking technology helps improve customer value and engagement — crucial as seven in 10 (70%) financial executives believe that the pandemic has increased focus on the customer experience.

It also provides the opportunity for banks to identify customer needs and deliver a personalised proposition shaped to each individual. For example, through account information services, banks can create bespoke user experiences which keep customers coming back. In addition to this, financial institutions can use personal finance management technology to engage with and create value for the customer — giving them invaluable insights to boost their financial health and identify risk areas.

 

Empowering operational efficiencies

Historically in banking, customers were required to transfer several onboarding documents — from proof of address to citizenship status. Not only was this a drain on the customer, but at the other end banks had to manually review and assess the documents provided.

Open banking can expedite everything from customer onboarding and due diligence to risk assessment processes. It simplifies the process for the customer as well as increasing operational efficiencies on the bank’s end, by allowing them to quickly retrieve customer information through connections to their primary bank.

Now customer data can be fetched in real-time and in a machine-readable format, financial institutions can onboard quickly and with significantly lower risk. With 68% of financial executives believing there has been a renewed focus on profitability since the pandemic, lowering costs and enabling efficiencies wherever possible will be make or break for some institutions.

The good news is that the benefits offered by open banking are now also coming to business accounts. At Tink, we are already live with this in the UK and Sweden — enabling companies to leverage business account data to create the same seamless services and enhanced user experiences for business and individual account holders alike. And in a world where customers are actively consenting to access their financial information to get better services, requesting that consent to enable open banking payments and transfers is a natural next step

 

The industry is just at the start of the open banking journey

The appetite for leveraging open banking technology is accelerating, as it climbs even higher on the agenda of executives. Over two thirds (68%) of financial executives surveyed across Europe say that their interest in open banking has been piqued by the pandemic as they recognised its potential to lower risk, anticipate financial distress, increase sales, and enhance customer experience.

As the dust settles, one thing has become clear – open banking has emerged as a vital enabler of gaining a competitive advantage for financial institutions, by improving the customer experience in a post-pandemic world.

To learn more, read Tink’s open banking report ‘Open banking in a post-pandemic world’, here.

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

Business24 hours ago

OUTSOURCING YOUR IT SOLUTIONS CAN SAVE YOU FROM COSTLY DOWNTIME

Amir Hashmi, CEO and Founder of leading IT and Cloud services provider Zsah, discusses why you need full-time professionals if...

Banking2 days ago

HOW TRADITIONAL INSURERS CAN USE TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS

The customer experience with insurance is anomalous, in that one is only required to engage with their insurer if things...

Business3 days ago

THE FUTURE OF CLOUD: HOW TO KEEP YOUR DATA SAFE

By Pete Braithwaite, COO of KIT Online Cloud services are inherently scalable, responsive and flexible. They offer huge flexibility –...

Business4 days ago

ETRADING SOFTWARE AND ARTIS HOLDINGS LOANS ELECTRONIC PLATFORM OPEN FOR BUSINESS

The Bids Wanted in Competition (BWIC) process completes on the WIC trading platform   Etrading Software, the independent, global provider...

Finance4 days ago

AIRBANK SELECTS YAPILY TO BUILD A FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SOLUTION FOR SMBS

Airbank, a financial management solution for European startups and SMBs, has selected open banking infrastructure provider Yapily to help its...

Interviews4 days ago

COULD YOU PROVIDE US WITH SOME BACKGROUND ON YOUR CURRENT ROLE WITHIN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR?

– Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner – Banking at IBM, BIAN Executive Board Member   I lead the banking consulting...

Business4 days ago

IT COST MANAGEMENT: 10 STEPS BUSINESSES CAN’T IGNORE

By Matt Dando, Director, Strategic Business Value Consulting at Serviceware   In today’s ever-accelerating digital era, and as we recover...

Banking5 days ago

UNCHARTED TERRITORY: HOW OPEN BANKING CAN HELP BANKS NAVIGATE COVID CHALLENGES

Opinion from Rafa Plantier, Head of UK and Ireland at Tink The last year has propelled banks, businesses and consumers...

Finance5 days ago

AI AND HOW IT’S LEADING THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR

Geoff Clark, Managing Director, Aerospike EMEA Much like many other sectors financial institutions have accelerated their digital transformation projects since...

Banking5 days ago

HOW DIGITAL IS MAKING THE ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ POSSIBLE FOR FINANCIAL FIRMS

  By Lavanya Kaul, Head of Customer Success, BFSI, UK&I, LTI Article synopsis: Focused on the digital transformation of the...

News5 days ago

DANSKE BANK TO BRING DOMESTIC SCHEME, DANKORT, TO APPLE PAY

Danske Bank, Denmark’s leading bank, supported by Nets, will bring Dankort to Apple Pay Dankort is the preferred means of payment...

News5 days ago

TACKLING THE FORGOTTEN PLASTIC PANDEMIC: CLIMATE CHANGE

By Mark Taylor, Group CCO, Waterlogic   Last year the COVID-19 pandemic was, quite rightfully, at the forefront of all...

News5 days ago

CROWN AGENTS BANK ACCELERATES GLOBAL GROWTH AND EXPANDS INTO NEW MARKETS WITH MULESOFT

MuleSoft, provider of the world’s #1 integration and API platform, today announced that Crown Agents Bank (https://www.crownagentsbank.com)  is using MuleSoft to digitally...

Finance5 days ago

THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCURATE AND TRUSTED TIMESTAMPING IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

Richard Hoptroff, CTO, Hoptroff   Recent global financial regulations such as MiFID II require that all stock exchanges, credit institutions,...

Business5 days ago

HOW OPEN DATA CAN HELP FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

David Lais, Co-Founder and CPO at Ecolytiq – providing banks and financial institutions with the digital infrastructure for green finance....

Business1 week ago

NOW’S THE TIME FOR THE INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR TO GET IR35 RIGHT

Matt Fryer, Head of Legal Services at Brookson Legal   The Government’s recently announced £650bn programme of infrastructure works is...

Business1 week ago

MAKING THE MOST OF RPA TO ENHANCE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Standfirst: Capturing and analysing business processes should be a prerequisite for any implementation of robotic process automation, argues Dr Gero...

Banking1 week ago

FINTECHS AND BANKING POST-COVID

COVID-19 has forced businesses and society to adapt to new realities. From big-name Wall Street banks to up-and-coming financial technology...

Technology2 weeks ago

WHY AGILE TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS ARE THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE INNOVATION

Sujit Unni,CTO, Paysafe   A main reason why platform technology can prove to be so effective for a business is...

News2 weeks ago

DIGITAL TOKEN IDENTIFIER REGISTRATION OPENS WITH ETRADING SOFTWARE

Top 100 cryptocurrencies can now be tracked authoritatively using new ISO standard   Etrading Software, through its non-profit division the...

Trending