The BBC Does Fintech

Interesting programme from the BBC looking at UK developments in Fintech. The discussion centered on how mobile devices are fundamentally changing banking and why incumbents are struggling to respond. Listen to the programme, or download it here.

The UK is a world leader in financial services technology, otherwise known as fintech.

Presenter Evan Davis asks how Britain has beaten Silicon Valley and what challenges fintech poses to traditional banking?

Antony Jenkins, Founder and Executive Chairman, 10x Future Technologies
Ishaan Malhi, Founder,
Eileen Burbidge, Co-founder, Passion Capital

The Time For Mobile-Centric Banking

Mckinsey says that Consumer adoption of digital banking channels is growing steadily across Asia–Pacific, making digital increasingly important for driving new sales and reducing costs. The branch-centric model is gradually but unmistakably giving way to the mobile-centric one.

Deferring the development and refinement of a digital offering leaves a bank exposed to the risk of weakened relationships and lower profitability. Now is a critical moment to draw retail-banking customers toward Internet and mobile-banking channels, regardless of the general level of network connectivity in a given market.

Our annual study, the Asia–Pacific Digital and Multichannel Banking Benchmark 2016, was led by Finalta, a McKinsey Solution, and examined digital consumer-banking data collected between July 2015 and July 2016 from 41 banks. This article focuses on our findings from Australia and New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan, examining consumer digital engagement, user adoption, and traffic and sales via Internet secure sites, public sites, and mobile applications.1 We detail three counterintuitive findings, and make suggestions for how banks should move forward.

Three counterintuitive findings

Consumer use of digital banking is growing steadily across all five markets (Exhibit 1). In the more developed markets of Australia and New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore, growth in recent years has been concentrated in the mobile channel. Indeed, among some banks use of the secure-site channel has begun to shrink, as some customers enthusiastically shift most of their interactions to mobile banking. In emerging markets, growth is strong in both secure-site and mobile channels.

Consumer adoption of digital banking is growing steadily across all markets.

Three counterintuitive findings point to the need for banks to act aggressively to improve their use of digital channels to strengthen customer relationships.

First, banks can excel in their digital offering despite limitations in the digital maturity of the markets they serve. One measure of digital maturity is the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), published annually by the World Economic Forum. This scorecard rates how well economies are using information and communication technology. It examines 139 countries using 53 indicators, including the robustness of mobile networks, international Internet bandwidth, household and business use of digital technology, and the adequacy of legal frameworks to support and regulate digital commerce. Comparison of digital-banking adoption with the level of networked readiness reveals that a country’s level of digital maturity does not necessarily promote or inhibit the growth of a bank’s digital channels.

Singapore, for example, has the most highly developed infrastructure for digital commerce in the world. However, when it comes to digital banking, Singaporean banks trail their peers from the less-networked markets of Australia and New Zealand, where banks have been able to draw consumers to digital channels despite gaps or weaknesses in digital connectivity.

Some banks have also been successful in pushing mobile banking regardless of network limitations (Exhibit 2). While Australia and New Zealand have moderately high levels of third-generation (3G) and smartphone penetration (trailing both Hong Kong and Singapore), the banks surveyed have achieved much stronger consumer adoption of mobile channels than their peers in other markets.

Mobile banking can also grow despite a market’s limited mobile-network infrastructure.

The second key finding is that having a relatively small base of active users does not necessarily mean low traffic (Exhibit 3). Among all participating banks in our survey, banks in Malaysia report among the smallest share of customers using the secure-site channel; however, these customers tend to log on many times a month, and the typical secure-site customer interacts with the bank more than twice as often as the secure-site banking customers of participating banks in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Low channel adoption does not necessarily mean inactive users.

Third, the survey data reveal wide variations in performance across key metrics by country. In Australia and New Zealand, for example, there is wide variation in digital-channel traffic, with customers logging on with 32 percent more frequency at participating banks in the upper quartile than those in the lower quartile. In Hong Kong, digital adoption among upper quartile peers exceeds that of the lower quartile peers by ten percentage points. Participants in Singapore observe a sixteen-percentage-point gap between the upper and lower quartile peers in the proportion of sales through digital channels.2 The wide gap between best and worst in class in multiple markets points to a significant opportunity for banks to beat the competition with compelling digital offers.

What banks should do

Banks in emerging markets have an opportunity to leapfrog to digital banking. Despite gaps in technology and smartphone penetration, a number of banks have tapped into consumer segments eager to adopt digital channels. Banks in emerging markets should prepare for rapid consumer adoption of digital channels. The digital evolution in emerging markets will differ considerably from the trajectory of banks in more developed markets.

Banks in highly developed markets have room to grow their active user base and digital sales. Indeed, the cost and revenue position of banks that do not act to improve their digital offering may weaken relative to peers that shift more business to digital channels. Banks in all markets should plan for this transition, especially through the integration of diverse technology platforms, the consolidation of customer data across multiple channels, and the continuous analysis of customer behavior to identify real-time needs. It is important to build services rapidly and to go live with minimally viable prototypes in order to attract early adopters—these digital enthusiasts eagerly experiment with new features and provide valuable feedback to help developers.

The significant variation of performance among countries shows great potential for banks to boost digital engagement with a dual emphasis on enrollment and cross-selling. Banks should carefully consider four best practices that often bring immediate gains by streamlining the customer’s digital experience:

  1. Deliver credentials instantaneously upon in-app enrollment. The global best practice shows that banks that issue credentials instantaneously through in-app enrollment see their mobile activity rise on average 1.5 times faster. Of the banks that provided data on functionality, more than 50 percent do not have in-app enrollment. This presents a significant value-creation opportunity.
  2. Simplify authentication processes to make them both secure and user friendly. Approximately three in five banks surveyed lack the ability to authenticate a user’s mobile device. In our experience, banks that store device information and allow users to log on simply by entering a personal identification number or fingerprint see three times more digital interaction than banks that require users to enter data via alphanumeric digits each time they log on.
  3. Implement ‘click to call’ routing to improve response times. Instead of using a voice-response system, where customers must listen to a long list of options before selecting the relevant service choice, an increasing number of mobile apps are adopting click-to-call options for each segment, enabling customers to bypass the voice-response menus. Of the banks that provided data on capability, only 30 percent in our Asia–Pacific survey offer authenticated click-to-call options. The improvement in customer service is significant, with global banks able to improve the speed of answering customer calls by up to 40 percent.
  4. Make digital sales processes intuitive and simple. Take credit cards as an example: best-practice global banks achieve average conversion rates (the ratio of page visits to applications) some 1.6 times those of Asia–Pacific banks. They do this by presenting products and features for which a customer has been prequalified through an intuitive, easy-to-read dashboard display or via tailored messages. Application forms are prefilled automatically with customer data. With intuitive and simple applications, banks in the Asia–Pacific region could increase the rate of completed applications by 22 percent, to come up to par with global best-practice banks.

Across the five markets we focused on, the branch-centric model is gradually but unmistakably giving way to the mobile-centric one. Looking at how digital-channel adoption and usage is evolving, along with the diversity of scenarios, banks have ample room to win in their target markets with a carefully tailored digital offering. Digital-savvy consumers warm quickly to well-designed and easy-to-use digital-banking channels, often shifting to the new channel in a matter of days. Banks need to act quickly to improve their customers’ digital experience or risk being left behind.

Lost or stolen cards replaced instantly with ANZ digital wallets

ANZ today announced its customers can continue to use their digital wallets when they report their card as lost or stolen with a new service that automatically updates their replacement card details.

As soon as a customer calls to report their debit or credit card as missing, ANZ puts a stop on the original card and automatically uploads the new virtual card details to the customer’s digital wallet.

ANZ Managing Director Products Australia, Katherine Bray said: “Our customers report about 670,000 cards as lost or stolen each year and we know waiting for a new card to arrive can be a real inconvenience.

“Now our customers can keep using their digital wallet, whether it’s Apple Pay or Android Pay, to make purchases while they wait for the new physical card to arrive in the mail.

“For many customers their smartphone is now the primary way they do their banking, including making purchases, so we’re working hard to keep improving their mobile experience with changes like this.”

ANZ has also made it possible for customers to keep their existing Personal Identification Number (PIN), provided it hasn’t been compromised, meaning less change with the same high level of security.

ANZ is the only major Australian bank to offer both Apple Pay and Android Pay with about 8.3 million transactions made across the bank’s digital wallets last year.

Citi’s Mobile First Strategy

Good piece in the McKinsey Quarterly where the bank’s Head of Operations and Technology, Don Callahan, describes the bank’s efforts to accelerate its digital transition. Watch the video.


We know we have to be mobile first, and we are doing a lot there. In order to be all-in on mobile, we have set up a “lean team” in our Long Island City office, with about 100 people who are operating in a very agile way.

Callahan surveys the 21st-century banking terrain: digital competitors are massing on every front—from fintech start-ups to new divisions of global institutions—while the speed of every banking process and customer interaction accelerates daily. All this change requires a focus on agility, Callahan says, which in turn demands a cultural rewiring.

At the helm of Citi’s digital transformation, Callahan is helping drive new thinking across the bank. He points to Citi’s digital lab for start-up innovations, powerful new apps for customer smartphones, and, internally, a push to expand capabilities across cloud computing and big data and analytics that enable automation and machine learning. In an interview with McKinsey’s James Kaplan and Asheet Mehta, Callahan describes what it takes to mobilize digital change at one of the world’s leading financial institutions.


No Credit History? No Problem.

From Bloomberg.

Financial institutions, overcoming some initial trepidation about privacy, are increasingly gauging consumers’ creditworthiness by using phone-company data on mobile calling patterns and locations.

The practice is tantalizing for lenders because it could help them reach some of the 2 billion people who don’t have bank accounts. On the other hand, some of the phone data could open up the risk of being used to discriminate against potential borrowers.

Phone carriers and banks have gained confidence in using mobile data for lending after seeing startups show preliminary success with the method in the past few years. Selling such data could become a more than $1 billion-a-year business for U.S. phone companies over the next decade, according to Crone Consulting LLC.

Fair Isaac Corp., whose FICO scores are the world’s most-used credit ratings, partnered up last month with startups Lenddo and EFL Global Ltd. to use mobile-phone information to help facilitate loans for small businesses and individuals in India and Russia. Last week, startup Juvo announced it’s working with Liberty Global Plc’s Cable & Wireless Communications to help with credit scoring using cellphone data in 15 Caribbean markets.

And Equifax Inc., the credit-score company, has started using utility and telecommunications data in Latin America over the past two years. The number of calls and text messages a potential borrower in Latin America receives can help predict a consumer’s credit risk, said Robin Moriarty, chief marketing officer at Equifax Latin America.

“It turns out, the more economically active you are, the more people want to call you,” Moriarty said. “That level of activity, that level of usage is what’s really most predictive.”


The new credit-assessment methods could allow more people in areas without bank branches to open accounts online. They could also make credit cards and loans more accessible and prevalent in some parts of the world. In the past, lenders mainly relied on bank information, such as savings and past loan repayments, to judge whether to let someone borrow.

NAB Announces New Mobile Banking App

NAB says customers will have more control over how, when and where they use their cards, thanks to NAB’s new Mobile Banking App to be launched later this year.


The new App will include world-leading card transaction controls, making it easier for customers to conveniently and instantly self-manage their personal Visa debit and credit cards through their mobile device.

And, in an Australian first, NAB customers will be able to instantly use newly approved personal Visa credit cards, with an innovative digital contract feature in the new App not seen anywhere else in the world.

This means customers will be able to instantly use their new credit card through NAB Pay for contactless transactions less than $100, without having to wait for their physical card to arrive in the mail.

“This is a whole new platform for a new era of NAB mobile banking,” NAB Executive General Manager of Consumer Lending, Angus Gilfillan, said.

“Our new App will be fast and seamless, and has been designed to make banking as convenient and easy as possible for our customers.”

“We want to give our customers more control over their everyday banking, and our new App will help them to do this with the tap of a button.”

NAB announced a strategic partnership with Visa in November last year, which was designed to accelerate the delivery of payments innovation and product development for customers. Through this partnership, and utilising the capabilities Visa made available through its Visa Developer platform, NAB was able to enhance the card transaction control features in its new Mobile Banking App.

“We’re really pleased to have been able to open up our capabilities which is delivering speed to market and innovation,” Global Head of Visa Developer, Mark Jamison, said.

“By directly connecting Visa and NAB developers through the Visa Developer program, the NAB team was able to save around six months of development time.”

These card transaction control features will enable customers to select and modify when and how their Visa debit and credit cards can be used.

“Customers will be able to control what type of payments can be made through the App; for example, if you’ve provided a secondary card to a family member, you can choose “Don’t Allow” for online purchases on that card,” Mr Gilfillan said.

NAB’s new mobile banking experience will include a range of other features, including the ability for customers to place a temporary block on any card that may have been lost or stolen.

“NAB is absolutely focussed on improving the customer experience, and our new App will give customers more control of their cards so it better suits their individual needs,” Mr Gilfillan said.

The new App will also see improvements to existing features and functions in NAB’s current Mobile Banking App, and, with a new look and feel, it will be easier for customers to login, view account balances, and search past transactions.

An open pilot of the new App will commence soon for compatible Android devices, providing thousands of customers the opportunity to provide feedback. Customers who would like to participate in the pilot will be able to visit the Google Play Store and download the new App. Customers with iOS devices will also be piloting the App over coming weeks.

“Our customers have been and will continue to be extensively involved in the development of our new App because we are absolutely committed to delivering our customers the experience they want,” Mr Gilfillan said.

During the pilot and after the App is launched in full later this year, features on the App will be released in stages.

NAB will also this week launch its new NAB PayTag to customers, a sticker which can be attached to mobile devices to enable contactless payments linked to a customer’s Visa debit card.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to provide our customers with innovative products and services, features and functions, to help them do their banking easier and take control of their finances,” Mr Gilfillan said.

Mobile First IS Banking’s Imperative

We recently released the latest 2016 edition of our banking channel report ‘The Quiet Revolution”, which is available on request. Our April Video Blog summarises the main findings.

The Quiet Revolution highlights that existing players need to be thinking about how they will deploy appropriate services through digital channels, as their customers are rapidly migrating there. We see this migration to digital more advanced among higher income households but momentum continues to spread. So players which are slow to catch the wave will be left with potentially less valuable customers longer term. Players need to adapt more quickly to the digital world. We are way past an omni-channel (let them choose a channel) strategy. We need to adopt a “mobile-first” strategy. Such digital migration needs to become central strategy because the winners will be those with the technical capability, customer sense and flexibility to reinvent banking in the digital age. The bank branch has limited life expectancy. Banks should be planning accordingly.



Facebook to help banks go mobile

From Australian Broker.

Facebook has said it does not have intentions to be a financial services organisation, however, the social media giant wants to partner with Australian banks to assist their transition to mobile.

Speaking at the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Banking and Wealth Summit in Sydney yesterday, Facebook’s head of financial services Australia, Paul McCrory said banks can leverage Facebook’s “vast scale” to innovate mobile banking.

He says the social media giant has “built these huge mobile platforms” that Australian banks should use to build a better mobile experience in financial services.

“Banks are mobile businesses as well, except that they have this legacy that sits behind them. So where we’re operating now is how do we help partner with this vast scale we’ve got to help a bank, for example, drive digital adoption,” McCrory said.

“How do we help the banks actually drive more and more people to use mobile services of some description, rather than having to go to a branch… and then over time create the best possible mobile branch experience…”

McCrory says bank branches “in their current form” are “inefficient” for today’s consumers.

“We’re not going to build a financial services organisation. What we’re here trying to do is help these organisations pivot to these more modern mobile type services.”

Whilst McCrory says Facebook has no intention to compete with the banks, the tech platform has dabbled in providing a financial service itself. Last year, Facebook announced a new payments feature for Facebook Messenger users in the United States, allowing users to make person-to-person payments by adding their debit card details on the Messenger service.

US Mobile Banking Trends Updated

Mobile banking use continued to rise last year as smartphone adoption grew and consumers were increasingly drawn to the convenience of mobile financial services, according to a US Federal Reserve Board report, Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016, released on Wednesday.

The report documents consumers’ use of mobile phones–Internet-enabled smartphones as well as more basic phones with limited features–as they bank and carry out financial activities. It is the Board’s fifth annual look at how consumers use mobile phones to access banking services (“mobile banking”), make payments, transfer money, or pay for goods and services (“mobile payments”), and inform financial decisions, as well as their reasons for using these services.

As of November 2015, 43 percent of adults with mobile phones and bank accounts reported using mobile banking–an increase of 4 percentage points from the prior year’s survey. The most common way that consumers use mobile banking is checking their account balances or recent transactions, followed by transferring money between accounts. More than half of mobile banking users received an alert from their financial institution through a text message, push notification, or e-mail–making this the third most common use of mobile banking.

For those who have adopted mobile banking, use of a mobile phone appears to complement their use of other banking channels. Among mobile banking users with smartphones, 54 percent cited the mobile channel as one of the three most important ways they interact with their bank. This share is below those that cited online (65 percent) and ATM (62 percent) as most important, but slightly above the share that cited a teller at a branch (51 percent).

Use of mobile payments continues to be less common than use of mobile banking. Twenty-four percent of all mobile phone users, and 28 percent of smartphone users, made a mobile payment in the 12 months prior to the survey. For smartphone owners who reported making payments with their phones, the most common types of mobile payments were paying bills, purchasing a physical item or digital content remotely, and paying for something in a store.

Use of mobile financial services varies across demographic groups. For particular groups of respondents to the 2015 survey–such as younger adults, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks–the shares who reported using mobile banking and mobile payments were higher than the overall survey averages. Smartphone ownership among those with mobile phones is higher for Hispanics than for non-Hispanic whites in this survey.

Consistent with findings from prior years, a majority of consumers using mobile banking and mobile payments cite convenience or getting a smartphone as their main reason for adoption. The main impediments to the adoption of mobile financial services continue to be a stated preference for other methods of banking and making payments, as well as concerns about security.

Concerns about the security and privacy of personal information continue to be expressed by mobile phone users, and the majority of smartphone users reported taking actions that can reduce harm in case of a security incident. The most common actions were installing updates, password-protecting the phone, and customizing privacy settings.

The survey was conducted on behalf of the Board by GfK, an online consumer research firm. The 2015 survey was conducted from November 4-23, 2015. More than 2,500 respondents completed the survey.

Previous surveys have informed the Federal Reserve and other parts of the government on consumer banking and payment behavior and have supported basic research and public discussion.

The 2016 report and a video summarizing the survey’s mobile financial services findings may be found at:

Mobile Microfinance: Delivering Financial Inclusion to the World’s Poor

From Juniper research.

As outlined in Juniper’s recently published research report, Mobile Financial Services: Developing Markets 2015-2020, the mobile device is becoming the core enabler for the world’s poor to seek financial inclusion, with users of such services set to grow to 283 million by 2020.

Enabling the World’s Poorest

The unbanked populace in developing regions are being introduced to financial services through the use of mobile money platforms. This extends from simply sending remittances, to being able to receive life-saving services and provisions through sophisticated mobile money transactions, which include such offerings as loans, savings, and insurance.

Barriers to Financial Inclusion in Emerging Markets

The mobile device has proven a game-changer in financial development for poorer nations due to a number of reasons.

Firstly, the fact that consumers can register with their mobile device through widely available outlets and branches in local stores, means that people are no longer required to travel long distances. Thus avoiding the use of poor transport systems, and travel over long distances, to reach major cities to register with a bank.

Additionally, Microfinance providers themselves face a hurdle with regard to the initial start-up costs associated with their services. In many developing nations profit is not feasible by traditional methods and, as a result, MFIs (Mobile Financial Institutions) have been reluctant to set up shop. The mobile form of finance delivery offers cheaper start-up costs, and far reaching services.

Juniper’s Mobile Financial Services research discusses the further implications that mobile banking poses for developing nations, as well as the current trends and key services on offer in this sector. For an overview of the microfinance industry download the white paper Microfinance with Macro Potential.