High street banking institutions are becoming more aware that they are past their hayday, compared to times gone by they are now focusing on customer retention more than expansion. It’s becoming more common for millenials and gen-Z to avoid traditional banks altogether, in favor of online options like tailored mobile payment services and even crypto wallets as primary financial tools. The fact is that high street banks simply haven’t evolved fast enough to meet customers’ needs in the digital age. In a nutshell, this is why high street banks will cease to exist sooner than later. Banking is changing quickly and so is the way businesses in all industries are managing their finances.
What Factors Cause Businesses to Seek Alternative Options?
There are two major observable points that are contributing to the decline of physical bank locations: digitisation and customer expectation. First, generally speaking – digitisation has caused most people to prefer online solutions over physical ones, purely because of the convenience and familiarity. This is especially true for younger generations, who prefer managing their lives digitally. It only makes sense that they would prefer digital banking solutions too. Surprisingly this is also helpful for senior customers who may not drive or be able to make it to a physical branch, contrary to popular belief – old generations are also becoming more tech savvy.
Increased customer expectations is also a huge driving factor toward the decline of high street bank locations. The bottom line is, customers expect solutions to be quick and convenient, but banks are often slow and inconvenient. With access to so much information at the touch of a button, it’s easier than ever to compare services and share details of services at scale, including reviews. Physical banks are losing this game due to long lines, limited hours, and strict regulations that make managing money physically difficult in some scenarios. Now that digital solutions are available, customers are quick to make the switch. Physical banks have simply become a burden.
Virtual IBANs Compared to Normal Bank Accounts
Businesses need fast and secure payment methods for their customers. Many companies face problems with their banks because there are so many empty policies in place that slow things down. Often this is in the name of security which is of course a top priority, however often it is unfair/incorrect. For example, companies who book tickets or offer hotel rooms can face chargebacks due to the “high risks” that these types of transactions create. We don’t know about you, but booking a hotel room shouldn’t be seen as high risk and certainly should not cause a company to have to refund their customer automatically. The solution to this type of problem is simple: A High Risk Merchant Account, offered by providers like Monneo. These accounts are designed to offer smooth trading without being slowed down by these speed bumps – allowing businesses to get on with day-to-day trading.
Digital Currency Exchanges
As digital currencies become more popular, banks are inevitably going to adapt to this trend, but they’re slow to react and generally speaking are dragging their feet. Some banks are even trying to dismiss alternative coins altogether. Though, the bigger picture shows that these newer methods of payment are an inevitable and growing trend.
Digital currency exchanges are already available in many countries and some are using it as a major way to trade on a day-to-day basis. Many banks are experimenting with integrating blockchain technology into their systems but this is a slow process that’s made up of red tape. As many different industries and companies are already accepting cryptocurrencies as payment, digital banking solutions are a no brainer for businesses. As cryptocurrencies continue to grow in popularity, we may even see governments start accepting them as a form of payment – whoever is first to this is sure to see the benefits against competition.
Automated Financial Advisors and AI
Another key reason why customers are turning to digital banking solutions is that automated financial advisors are actually quite helpful. Gone are the days of frustrating automated service processes. AI is already being used by many banks, but more so by innovative start ups, fintechs and online banks who are jumping straight into customer pools with clever banking products which gets them ahead from the get go, rather than having to adapt and react. AI is also becoming useful for banks to detect fraudulent activity. AI can quickly analyze large amounts of data to find patterns and make predictions, in most cases it’s more effective than humans. Do you see a pattern emerging here? For physical banks, they’re slow to adopt this tech and despite making efforts to implement it, due to the way they are internally structured. The fact is, high street banks are a long way off reaching the sophistication of digital banking solutions when it comes to the use of AI.
A New Standard of Customer Service Has Emerged
Banks have traditionally had high standards of customer service, but many have struggled to keep these promises in the digital era. When you compare much of the software and apps of traditional banks with fully digital banking institutions, there is a clear difference in the technical quality. This has caused many banks to fall behind in quality customer service. People are now expecting more personalised solutions and higher standards of customer service in all areas of life, banks are no different.
Looking to the Future
From our research, banks are likely to become more like service providers in the future, for the minority of less tech savvy customers and users or those without access to computers / smartphones. Though, this pool of clients is miniscule compared to the majority of available customers who are flocking to alternative solutions.
It’s also speculated that many online banks that are currently only services on the web will one day start opening physical branches, as more advertising spaces and to provide an extension to their customer services. There we come full circle, but as these providers have the fundamentals in place when it comes to technology, innovation and the use of AI – they’ll be far ahead of traditional banks.
Author : Jamie Green
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