For credit unions and banks vying to be the primary financial institution, understanding and delivering products and services based on consumers’ needs has always been a priority.
Yet, a recent Celent report, “Top Trends in Retail Online Banking,” has found that while consumers want their financial institutions’ online offerings to keep up with the times, not many of those online offerings have delivered.
The report has revealed that the banking industry as a whole has not kept pace with the evolution of the Internet.
“Online banking isn’t an alternative channel any more. It’s a mainstream channel,” said Jacob Jegher, senior analyst with Celent’s banking group and author of the report. “This channel, however, requires a lot of attention. If banks don’t act swiftly, they risk critical customer relationships and revenue.”
Some of the key retail online banking trends include user experience and functionality, where it’s past time to overhaul online bill pay as most banks continue to dabble with the idea of personal financial management. In addition, the increased use of tablets will act as a catalyst to redesign online banking. In terms of revenue growth and cost cutting trends, more merchant-funded reward programs are being integrated into online banking, financial technology start-up are teaming with banks to offer innovative online services and self-service will continue to be a way to cut costs while pleasing customers.
“It’s important that banks harness technology but don’t use it as their best foot forward,” said Jegher. “It's easy to get caught up in the array of sexy tools and devices on the market, but at the end of the day it's the customer and their experience that matter most. Financial institutions need to determine customer pain points and act swiftly to alleviate them.”
So just who are these consumers? A First Data report, “The New Consumer and Financial Behavior,” has separated them into six segments: Fast Trackers, Young Aspirationals, Middle-of-the-Roaders, Value Seekers, Simplifiers and Conventional Stalwarts.
Here’s a look at their attitudes, behaviors and beliefs based on the First Data research.
Fast Trackers range in age from 18 to 34, earn more than $100,000 a year, are married, and 74% choose a national bank. The Fast Tracker, in addition to online banking and bill pay, uses PayPal for payments but is interested in social media to transfer funds. The report also suggested that this segment can use guidance with investments and financial options.
The same age range as Fast Trackers, Young Aspirationals have never been married, and 65% choose a national bank as their primary financial institution. In addition, 50% use credit cards and 30% avoid credit cards at all costs, 11% still share financial responsibility with parents, 29% could use help with finances, and 21% are currently using PFM. This group owns technology but is not a first adopter, is always online using bill pay and wants mobile discounts. To better reach this segment, the report suggested offering products and services that recognize loyalty, such as targeted local, point-of-sale discounts.
Middle of the Roaders are generally between the ages of 35 and 54, earn less than $60,000 a year, are married and choose national banks. This group has a goal to pay down debt, is not currently using PFM and has a personal loan from a primary bank. Since this group has trouble keeping track of finances and uses online banking at home all the time, the report advised offering tips and online alerts to help manage money and promotion of PFM tools.
For Value Seekers and Simplifiers, who are over 55 years old and earn over $100,000 and under $35,000 respectively, offer investment tools and products that offer rewards and be honest in discussions about security. In addition, Simplifiers appreciate and expect personal service. The biggest challenge for Conventional Stalwarts, who are generally over 55 years old, have an income under $35,000 and prefer to bank local, will be explaining the impacts of regulation in terms of additional fees if applicable that may be incurred.