In recent years, retail banking consumers have been rapidly moving towards digital banking solutions, with RFi Group data showing that globally 1 in 4 consumers are highly digitally engaged, using mobile banking channels at least once a week. The development of mobile banking has proven to be an exciting driver of innovation in the banking industry, with banks and financial institutions across the globe offering a range of new digital products and services, which consumers are quick to pick up. The adoption of digital banking has been particularly strong in Spain as shown in an ING report from 2014 where Spain was placed to have the fourth highest mobile banking usage in Europe, after Turkey, Poland and Norway. Since then several exciting developments have been undertaken in digital banking in Spain, which positioned the Spanish market well to remain a global leader in this space.
A study from the Mobile Marketing Association in Spain in partnership with Seeketing, a mobile marketing firm, shows that mobile phone and tablet users often use their devices for financial purposes, with 44% saying that they have searched for banking products using a smartphone, while 23% have done the same on a tablet device.
Spain is a highly technologically savvy market, with more than 8 in 10 people using smartphones, according to a Fundación Telefónica report. Additionally, a study from the Mobile Marketing Association in Spain in partnership with Seeketing, a mobile marketing firm, shows that mobile phone and tablet users often use their devices for financial purposes, with 44% saying that they have searched for banking products using a smartphone, while 23% have done the same on a tablet device. Moreover, Spanish consumers also express willingness to use their mobile devices to apply for banking products, with 46% of men and 36% of women saying they would do this. These figures show the willingness of Spanish consumers to conduct their banking through digital channels is high.
Besides the strong uptake of mobile banking, there are also a number of innovative offerings in the Spanish market. One such offering is from CaixaBank, one of the largest financial organisations in Spain, which introduced its own digital bank in early 2016. The new bank, imaginBank, targets young consumers between the age of 18 to 35, and provides banking products and services through mobile apps, as well as it is using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. One of the main features of imaginBank’s offering is that its users have access to a range of innovative contact channels. For example, customers can use Facebook to view and track their balance and recent transactions, access a 24/7 customer service line through Twitter, use an internal chat service of the app, and access a WhatsApp support line.
Another Spanish bank that has made great strides towards digital banking is BBVA. BBVA originally announced its digital banking division in March 2014, and later that year announced it had 8.6 million online clients around the globe and 3.7 million mobile customers. According to the Spanish bank, BBVA was the first institution in Spain to offer account opening service completely online through mobile devices, which was launched in late 2016. In order to complete their applications, consumers applying for an account with BBVA can go onto the BBVA website or download the BBVA app to use a selfie picture and perform a video call to prove their identity. Using facial recognition technology, the bank can check the verification picture and complete the application via the video call. This development from BBVA, as well as the developments from CaixaBank, show the exciting changes that are occurring in the digital banking space in Spain and demonstrate the leading capabilities of Spanish banks.
As can be seen, digital banking is booming across the globe, and Spain is no different. With Spain’s high level of smartphone ownership, and demonstrated willingness to use mobile banking, it is clear this is a market with a lot of future potential for digital banking. And with major financial institutions such as BBVA and CaixaBank investing heavily in their digital solutions, it is likely that Spain will remain a leader in this space. While consumers become increasingly comfortable with digital banking, and banks continue to develop these products and services, digital banking will remain an exciting space in the banking industry, and RFi Group will continue to monitor how digital banking changes both in Spain, and around the globe.