The convergence of digital and physical channels in a mobile-first environment is challenging banks to deliver seamless and secure customer experiences across all platforms and devices. From a banking point of view, the way in which customers are using technology is influencing how banks deliver both online and in-person services.
Consumers are using multiple channels for banking, including mobile, online, and physical branches. In response to the changing marketplace, companies such as Wells Fargo Bank and NCR Corp. are working together to develop next generation technology for mobile, branch, and ATM applications. Their focus includes hardware, software, security, customer authentication, and user experience.
NCR and Wells Fargo have worked together for nearly a decade to bring a number of industry-leading technologies to the marketplace, from cash- and check-processing innovations to high-touch concierge solutions delivered through self-service devices. Now, the two companies are working on new innovations that promise to help shape the future of retail banking.
Providing a secure, stable computing environment requires interconnectivity with a focus on speed. Intel provides the foundation upon which companies like Wells Fargo and NCR can build innovative solutions without compromising data security. Using leading edge IoT technology, Intel provides the backbone for compute-intensive operations that integrate cloud, networking, big data, and storage applications.
The transition, from a bank perspective, is that mobile is one of the first places customers go when they need to get something done.
Mobile Is a Game-Changer
Moreover, Intel’s IoT-connected technology facilitates the development of omnichannel retail banking solutions, including form factor innovations that support mobile devices, ATMs, kiosks, and teller machines. Because data security is paramount in the financial services sector, every new solution has to begin with a secure and dependable hardware environment.
The rapid growth of mobile banking has banks rethinking the role of smart phones in the financial services ecosystem. “The transition, from a bank perspective, is that mobile is one of the first places customers go when they need to get something done,” says Darren Goetz, vice president, Branch & ATM Innovation Team at Wells Fargo Bank. “At Wells Fargo, we’ve continued to work diligently between digital and physical channels to create seamless experiences for our customers. A recent example is offering card-free access to our fleet of more than 13,000 ATMs. The combination of speed, security, and convenience delivered through our customers’ mobile devices has been extremely well-received."
Mobile also is becoming an increasingly important way for banks to interact with customers. “Banks understand that the more connected the customer is, the more interactions they will have with their bank,” says Bruce McBain, customer innovation lead at NCR Corp. “Integrating physical touchpoints is essential. Whether it’s at an ATM, a kiosk, or in person, mobile technology is facilitating customer integration with branch endpoints.”
In fact, mobile technology is transforming the brick-and-mortar environment. Wells Fargo, for example, already uses a mobile app to authenticate users at ATMs. “We expect to see a continued increase in the number of customer interactions via mobile,” says Goetz. “When customers come into a branch, their mobile device could be the key digital-to-physical connection point. Potentially, that could also enable customers to leverage their own devices to conduct interactions with traditional physical endpoints, like ATMs.”
Optimizing Customer Experiences
Supporting seamless cross-channel experiences online and at the point of sale is another significant trend in the banking industry. “Customers expect all of their channels to be integrated, and for service to be fast and responsive,” says Goetz.
While physical branches are still the preferred touchpoint for many customers, the bank environment of the future is going to be more automated and digitized. Looking ahead, the number of bank branches will continue to shrink as financial institutions focus on utilizing technology to automate routine transactional tasks.
“The shape of the branch will continue to change, and one of the ways that we see things changing is in the role of personnel within the branch,” says McBain. “Increasingly, branch staff will focus more on service and advisory roles that provide added-value for their customers.”
Consumers expect to be able to conduct business anytime, anywhere, and financial institutions need to deliver technology that supports an omni-channel, multiplatform experience.
Technology Drives Innovation and Integration
The foundation for a secure, “always-on” banking environment requires infrastructure supporting everything from mobile devices and kiosks to video conferencing and ATMs. Seamless integration
New functionality, such as virtual assistants, also promises to give banks the ability to automate even more. At the same time, technology will enable banks to better meet customer expectations. “Consumers expect to be able to conduct business anytime, anywhere, and financial institutions need to deliver technology that supports an
Technology also will enable financial institutions to better utilize the copious amounts of customer data at their fingertips. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, that data can be used for improving customer authentication as well as for more personalized marketing. AI also will increasingly facilitate the ability of banks to make real-time recommendations to customers based on unique user profiles.
Security Remains a Priority
Security is at the heart of technological solutions related to financial services. A secure transactional environment requires hardware and applications that are designed to support data integrity and identity protection. Security and manageability start with critical infrastructure protection.
Whether consumers are conducting transactions via a smartphone, an ATM, or a kiosk, the hardware and software solutions need to be secure. As mobile and in-person banking blend together, security must be embedded in the core
“With branches increasingly connected by cloud-based servers, it is imperative to consider what that means from a security perspective,” says McBain. “In developing new hardware and software solutions, every potential to exploit the system needs to be considered and addressed. The enabling technology for the financial services sector has to minimize risk and optimize the delivery of customer services.”
Banking and the Connected Economy
Physical and digital banking solutions will continue to converge as new technology reshapes the financial services sector. In order to meet customer expectations, banks will need to leverage multiple form factors that offer manageability, seamless communication protocols, and security.
“Customers expect immediacy and universal accessibility in the connected economy,” says McBain. “In the branch of the future, a bank will know who the customer is when they walk in the door, and will be able to provide a better, more personalized experience to each individual.”
Wei Huang Oania is the Product Marketing Director for Intel Retail Solution Division (RSD). She is responsible for driving the market growth for retail segments worldwide, developing and executing strategic plans base on RSD customer needs, and identifying market and competitive trends, product positioning, and marketing programs to differentiate and grow the markets.