European fintech companies and digital-only banks have seen tremendous growth within the past few years. In 2019, 24 financial services start-ups, including Orange Bank and Revolut, reached a valuation of over $1 billion [1]. Fintech will add new services to traditional banks and consumers have embraced the new fintech alternatives because of their user-friendly and fast responding interfaces. Despite the increased competition, banks still have several options for improving their customer experience while not compromising their level of security. This article is based on a conversation between Michael Salmony, Executive Advisor at Worldline, Gregory Lambertie, Head of Group Strategy at Worldline, Johan Tjärnberg, Chairman of the Board at Signicat and Antoine Larmanjat, Technical Director at Google Cloud.

 

 

Why is customer king? Seamless customer experiences also know as CX are more important than ever, with fintechs and big tech challengers threatening traditional banks’ position. However, increased security measures passed by the EU to enhance a safe banking experience could potentially become an involuntary obstacle to a frictionless customer experience. Despite the various anti-fraud regulations described in PSD2 and its technical standards, we at Worldline have accumulated expert knowledge on creating a convenient and safe customer experience in a heavily regulated environment. In addition to Know Your Customer (KYC), seamless onboarding, motion design and authentication transactions, the awareness of the customer experience as a continuously ongoing process are all key components in combining the seamless customer experience with the necessary security. Designing the optimal customer experience involves trying out different features based on various customer data in parallel, thereby learning which features customers prefer and then constantly investing in and iterating on the successful parameters.

 



 

“New security services such as SCA and AI-driven fraud management will play an increasing role in risk assessment for banks in the future."

Antoine Larmanjat,
Technical Director at Google Cloud.

 

As an example, Bank of America invested $50 million in its online banking registration application and saw a 45% increase in customer conversion. Research from Forrester, meanwhile, shows that every dollar invested in UX returns 100.

 

Although traditional banks are starting to prioritise developing their UX internally, they still do not have the same access to well-funded experience labs as large tech companies and merchants. In the past, sufficient funds were not the only obstacle banks' very mindset, which could also present a challenge. That mindset, however, is now slowly adapting to accommodate 24/7 availability and convenience etc., rather than simply relying on the history and establishment of traditional banking in society. Banks are beginning to look at private tech companies and merchants and build an internal culture that puts the customer first. While this can be achieved in-house, banks can also consolidate with a partner with much more experience in this field [2].

 

Worldline’s take on CX

Worldline aims to be a partner who deals with the complexity on behalf of its clients, e.g. developing smoother SCA for its bank clients and its online merchants clients while also improving and learning from these processes to benefit both current and future clients. Worldline has entered a number of partnerships with a group of around 400 German savings banks. In this case, Worldline has concentrated the whole experience in one suite of products while leaning on existing in-house solutions to increase the banks’ market shares. Having feature-rich yet easy to deploy APIs should be a major focus point for all transaction and payment providers as it is essential for customer integration. This also helps banks connect and interact easier with their standards and tailor-made solutions.

Good customer experience, however, starts in-house. Developers are in high demand and providing them with a good working experience in the shape of well-documented and easy-to-use APIs is key to attracting the best in the field. To do that, Worldline has designed specific HR employee experiences by creating scientific communities where its experts can dive into relevant topics and develop thought leadership for the sector. It is also hosting expert community hackathons where developers can showcase the products they are currently working on and get feedback from their peers.
 

 

 

 

“As the financial industry has gone through major changes over the last few years, it has gone with a low to nothing switching cost for customers on the merchant side or the banking side, which is also a result of the digitisation of services. So, the end user power continues to increase and UX is one of the main choosing criteria for today’s customer.”

Gregory Lambertie,
Head of Group Strategy, M&A and Public Affairs at Worldline

How partnerships can enhance CX

Most banks recognise that they have lost significant market share when it comes to merchant services. However, being secure while also convenient is achievable for banks now that they can compete with their new fintech opponents such as Stripe, Square, etc. Digital payments are expected to grow 12% over the next 4-5 years and as Buy Now, Pay Later and account to account solutions gain momentum, banks can leverage this development to their own advantage. Multiple banks have rolled out biometric solutions for authentication, which is a major step towards a seamless user experience. Banks have another huge advantage in existing customer relationships, which is a great differentiation point compared to other players. Banks can combine this asset with partnerships with fintechs or payment experts to achieve convenience and security. This applies to all banks, whether they are tier 1, 2 or 3 because it depends on what kind of partnership they can build. The right partnership can provide a bank’s merchant clients with the right digital environment and international reach whereby their foreign customers can pay in a way that the bank may not have been capable of facilitating by itself.
 

The Future Of CX

When observing consumer preferences globally, there has recently been a significant demographical shift. For example, in the European market, consumers between 25-35 years old prefer to pay digitally via a debit solution, which is not necessarily via card. In Asia, there are now billions of digital wallet users. Fintechs need to educate banks on how to cater to these consumers’ behavioural changes because fintechs such as neobanks have excelled at onboarding new customers. A very important part of the bank customer experience is that of using a mobile banking app. Interacting with their finances is something most people now do quite often and it is an area banks need to invest in to remain relevant in the eyes of their customers.

As users and consumers, we will always lean towards solutions with the least amount of friction. However, as citizens, privacy and fraud management are our main concerns. It will therefore be up to the banks and their fintech partners to identify their key assets and find a manageable balance between usability and security from a consumer, business and geographical point of view.

 

 

 

 

“We are getting to an inflection point where cards are losing momentum on the back of the development of the Buy Now Pay Later solutions, account to account solutions etc. and here, the banks have a good opportunity to get back into the game as they sit on the bank accounts funding the BNPL bills.”

Johan Tjärnberg,
Chairman of the Board at Signicat.

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