A 10-year revolution in how we manage our money
It’s fair to say that few sectors have been as shaken and stirred over the last 10 years as financial services. Curium’s Nuala Ryan casts an eye over the past decade and looks ahead at the trends shaping the way we conduct our financial affairs.
I like to think of myself as a (relative) spring chicken, but an awful lot has changed when I cast back a decade. Even then, visiting the local bank at lunch time was the way most of us did our banking, and the concept of contactless was abstract at best.
Fast forward to 2018 and phone apps are the most popular way to bank, while chip and pin seems prehistoric.
With input from consumer finance experts Catherine Turner from The Co-op and journalist Simon Read, here are some of the biggest ways the world of finance has changed over the last decade.
- Shift to online – given that internet banking has only been around since the millennium (Smile launched the UK’s first internet-only bank in 1999), it’s mind-blowing that by 2020 consumers will probably use their mobile to manage their current account more than they use the internet, branch and telephone banking put together (Source: BBA). For many of us, even online banking feels outdated: if we can’t use a mobile app that only needs a fingerprint to log in, then forget it.
- Breakdown of trust – trust in financial services was shattered ten years ago in the UK by the run on Northern Rock, a key date in the onset of the credit crunch. Since then, steered by a new financial watchdog, banks have been working hard to regain our trust, overhauling their operating models from products, to corporate cultures to the way they communicate to ensure customers are treated fairly.
- Speed – in today’s on-demand world, we expect to be able to spend, move and receive money instantly. A major UK banking initiative, Faster Payments Service is reducing payment times between customers’ accounts from the three working days that transfers typically take, to just a few seconds. In June, Faster Payments processed 3 million payments – a 20% rise on the same time last year.
- Cashless society – make like the Queen, anyone? This week, I realised I hadn’t carried cash in my purse for at least a month or so. Not because I’m a sponger, but because… well, when do I need it? Bus to work? Use contactless. Sandwich from Pret a Manger? The same. New trainers? Use Apple Pay. Earlier this year, a study showed that digital payments had overtaken cash and that by 2026, cash will account for just over a fifth of sales.
- Fintech – from peer-to-peer lending platforms Zopa and Funding Circle, to currency exchange companies like TransferWise, to digital currency platforms like Blockchain – start-ups are beating the banks by offering cheaper, quicker, online services that consumers love.
And what does the next 10 years have in store? Personal finance journalist Simon Read, says: “We’ve already seen a generation of folk using apps on their phone to manage their money. The pace of change may have seemed fast, but it’s clear that we’re just at the start of a revolution in financial services.
“It means that technology and AI is set to become more important as normal people become more focused on taking control of their finances. There’s so much data available now that banks are beginning to concentrate much more on driving loyalty and engagement through personalising and even gamifying our experience.
“Anything that offers convenience and cuts out process will prove popular as what now seems for the future, quickly becomes today’s norm.”
Before joining Curium Solutions, Nuala worked in consumer finance PR for The Co-op Bank and Wonga Group.