Digitalisation, internet, mobile and social media have overhauled the banking industry in recent years, making the e-business the new normal. The industry has been keen in adopting advanced technologies to tune itself with tech-savvy generation.
According to IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual IT Spending Guide, global IT spending will grow to nearly $2.65 trillion in 2020. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3 percent for the 2015-2020 forecast periods.
Financial services sector, which includes banking, insurance, and securities and investment services, is cited as one of the verticals behind the IT spending growth.
Banking service provider ING DIRECT, a part of Dutch-based ING Group financial institutions, is an example for how to embrace digitisation systematically.
Before starting digital initiatives, the bank conducted market studies to know the pulse of its banking customers.
According to John Arnott, executive director, Customers, the firm’s customers are the most digitally engaged of any bank in Australia. ING DIRECT says the firm is digital-first, and increasingly mobile-first.
Around 74 percent of customer interactions with the bank are through mobile app – that’s almost 200,000 interactions through mobile each day.
Many of ING Direct customers’ use mobile app as their primary way of managing their money. Therefore, the bank takes all the steps possible to make sure customers continue to have a first-rate mobile experience.
An example for the bank’s commitment to its customers is the introduction of Apple Pay to its half a million Orange Everyday account customers in February.
Apple Pay is considered as one of the easy, secure and private ways to pay money s fast and conveniently.
Apple Pay is also used for paying online shopping bills. When paying for goods and services on the go in apps or Safari, Apple Pay works with iPhone 6 and later, iPhone SE, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3 and later.
In March, ING DIRECT unveiled a prototype of the iTM, a smartphone that utilises the latest in 3D printing technology to print cash notes on demand.
iTM eliminates the need to use traditional ATMs. This mobile device enables users to withdraw Australian Dollars direct from their Orange Everyday account by linking directly with the ING DIRECT app.
According to Arnott, this innovation was a response to increasing demand from customers for digital banking methods that more closely reflected their on-the-go lifestyle.
Appetite for cashless payments growing
In May, a survey conducted by ING Direct found that Australians’ appetites for cashless payments, including contactless card payments and mobile payments, is growing.
ING report titled “International Survey Mobile Banking 2017 – Cashless Society” revealed that 24 percent of Australians say they would go completely cashless if given the choice.
“This move away from physical cash goes hand in hand with our increasing use of technology, and in particular mobile technology, across many aspects of our lives,” Arnott said.
“Many of us get our news from our phones, we set up appointments, we book an Uber and order our dinner on the way home, and we do our banking and shopping on our phones. A year ago you would see very few people using their smartphone to pay at a café, but today it’s rapidly becoming commonplace.”
If given the choice between cash-only or cashless payments, 66 percent would choose to visit a store that only accepts cashless payments, rather than a store that only accepts notes and coins.
Already into digital mode, the bank has plans to enhance its digital services. According to a report published in The Sydney Morning Herald, the bank is preparing to introduce artificial intelligence-powered banking chatbots on social media to take customer interaction into a new level.
According to the report, by the end of this year, it expects to be capable of unleashing chatbots on Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s Assistant, which is the tech giant’s answer to Apple’s digital assistant, Siri.
While other banks in Australia already use chatbots, ING says its bots will be different and can interact with customers in simple language.