Aussie banks lag on digital management tools

  • By Christine St Anne

Australian banks are still lagging in offering a full customer mobile banking experience and must rethink their digital strategies if they are to remain relevant in the digital world.

Speaking at a client function last week, Forrester analyst Zhi Ying Ng, called the banking sector to deliver on “customer-obsessed strategies” as digital banking delivers on next generation technologies.  

“The Aussie banks do very well in providing their customers with the ability to use basic mobile transactions such as transferring money. However, they still lag in providing moment management tools,” Zhi Ying said. 

It’s an assessment already made by Forrester in its 2016 global Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark survey. This year, the results remain the same. 

Citing themes around changing customer expectations, brand recognition and trust issues, Zhi said that “today it is even more important to re-imagine value for customers”. 

“The good news is that technology advances are allowing banks to provide more value to customers. These technologies enable banks to enrich the lives of their customers by providing relevant and personalised services,” she said. 

Such technologies include artificial intelligence, the internet of things, analytics and intelligence agents such as chatbots and “digital assistants”. 

A number of global banks are harnessing such innovations to deliver for the customer particularly in the area of analytics and real-time information.

Money management 

Polish Bank mBank uses predictive analytics to suggest bill payments to customers based on past transactions. Spanish bank BBVA helps its customers assess whether they can afford a mortgage based on their current financial situation. 

Closer to home, Macquarie Bank is investing heavily in natural language processing and machine learning. Commonwealth Bank was also cited as being at the forefront of working with APIs. This collaboration has enabled the bank to allow utility providers to send bill reminders to their customers’ apps or email. 

Other banks such as Germany’s Fidor Bank and fintech business Acorns use APIs to create “an ecosystem of providers”. 

“Banks don’t have to build all the assets, they can also partner with APIs to leverage their assets,” Ng said. 

For example, Acorns has partnered with big retail brands such as ASOS and Nike. Under such partnerships, Acorns customers who purchase through these retailers have their transactions rounded up to the next dollar. These roundups are then invested back into the customer’s account. 

Forrester’s research also revealed that better mobile banking engagement through money management tools help banks retaining customers, achieve a higher cross-sell of products and services and drive better advocacy levels. 

“Retaining customers and making sure they remain loyal will only drive better business results for banks.”