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What Has Changed in the Digital Banking Experience After a Year of Pandemic?

woman laying on a bed using credit card and smart phone
By Renato Oliveira

3 minutes

Digital service has gone from convenience to absolute necessity and must become more ‘human’ than ever.

Sponsored by ebankIT

2020 was a year of highly radical changes and evolutions in the business models of all types of industries. Despite being a trend already noted throughout the last decade, financial services' digital transformation has met an unprecedented acceleration in recent times. Digital banking has gone from a convenience to an absolute necessity, a transformation that will continue to dictate changes in the market for years to come. 

Usually resistant to change, consumer habits were reversed in record time. In a few months, the world saw an evolution in people's behavior which, under normal circumstances, would have taken years. Long-term confinements and fears of face-to-face contact have kept people away from bank branches and physical stores.

This shift by consumers to digital has forced banks and credit unions to optimize the customer experience as a way of ensuring efficiency. This has had repercussions in front-office, back-office and centralized tools for delivering global, secure and highly scalable services.

Accordingly, financial institutions are taking on the challenge of integrating solutions that improve their own services’ architecture and promote customized journeys. These days, customers expect to perform such operations as opening bank accounts or subscribing to products from the comfort of their homes. 

According to a study conducted by the consultancy Crowe, consumers’ use of digital banking has risen from 25% pre-March 2020 to 60% by the end of September 2020, with the rate of highly engaged digital users reaching over 80% in the same timeframe. These are clear signs that the new habits will become permanent practices.

This evolution has not caught financial institutions off guard, for sure, but the new reality may be a greater challenge than initially foreseen. It is mandatory to provide the best service to a completely digital customer who no longer seeks face-to-face interactions. Financial institutions need to focus on digital, search for innovation, improve quality of service and provide the best end-user experience, including leveraging new technologies that will help decision-making and simplify processes. Paperwork will become more and more obsolete, so digital channels need to be adapted to offer the complete selling process through the users’ channel of choice, whatever that may be.  

Also, customers are increasingly relying on alerts, notifications and other features to enjoy improved banking experiences. These can only be achieved by the adoption of agile and customizable platforms that can gather non-financial information, create context and help with dynamic solutions. The opportunity for financial institutions is the possibility of understanding and anticipating real-time financial needs. This changes banking interactions from reactive, transactional banking, to proactive, life-event-oriented experiences.

The main challenge for financial institutions will be to create a more human and customized digital banking experience. To make that possible, the most innovative omnichannel digital banking platforms are already merging human communications into the user experience. 

The future will continue to include an increasing investment in technologies with the potential to speed services, enable access to competitive and innovative marketplaces, reduce bureaucracy and, most importantly, generate an empathetic connection with consumers in a digital environment. With the right technology, digital banking can become more human than ever.

Renato Oliveira is chairman and CEO of ebankIT

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