Europe’s consumers ‘driving digital revolution in financial services’

Banking-Financial-Services

A study of 7,000 European consumers who participated in Fujitsu-commissioned survey, suggests that digital plays an increasingly prominent part in their banking interactions, with 37% ready to leave their provider if it doesn’t offer up-to-date technology.

The IT services giant reports that while traditional payments remain popular, with 44% of consumers still using cash to pay daily – new digital payment methods are coming to the fore. Consumers are showing they are open to innovative services, with 32% already embracing mobile device payments, while 22% have adopted wearable technologies and 20% crypto-currencies, the latter driven by Eastern Europe usage where 44% say they use the technology.

“Today’s customers are no longer guarded,” said Francois Fleutiaux, senior vice president and head of sales, Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), Fujitsu. “When it makes interaction more convenient they are willing to embrace innovation.

“They may not know where they need it until it is offered, but this is where technology comes to the fore – it is the engine that is driving consumer expectations forward and the financial services sector has to live up to this new pace of change.”

Fujitsu says that this progressive consumer attitude has also led to a shift in expectations from financial service providers and a willingness to buy more services from them; offering opportunity to current providers. One in three said they would consider buying energy for their home; the same figure agreed on personal data storage, while 30% said they would purchase broadband services from their bank.

Yet with this progressiveness comes a warning bell to traditional providers, with one in five respondents indicating they would buy banking services from potential disrupters like Google, Amazon or Facebook.

This digitally open attitude also extends to day-to-day interaction with banks. Online banking is the most popular channel across Europe, with three in four using it at least once a week. Yet, while traditional channels are declining in comparison, they still represent a huge swath of consumers; 34% visit their bank branch at least weekly, while 36% use the telephone to speak with their banking provider.

“While there is no doubt we are moving towards a digital world, this shouldn’t and doesn’t mean that traditional channels are ‘dead’,” said Fleutiaux. “For consumers, digital simply means a new way to communicate whether that be their bank, insurer or their favourite retailer – in whatever way suits them.

“‘Traditional’ methods and face-to-face interaction still have a place in modern-day banking. Providers that will be successful will be the ones who modernise their back office to integrate these various channels to create ‘banks of the future’ that provide their customers with all options.”

Consumer attitudes to innovation have also impacted data sharing. Across Europe, 97% of those surveyed said they were happy for banks to use their data to offer them a wider range of services; a huge shift in consumer mindset.

• Fifty-nine per cent would be happy for their bank to use their data to lower their mortgage premium.
• Forty-seven per cent would allow banks to use their data to recommend relevant products and services.
• Forty-four per cent want their data used by banks to keep them informed of their spending habits and offer relevant advice.
• Thirty-six per cent would like their data used by banks to amend their credit rating

“The financial services sector must continue to build on its digital success and commit to on-going innovation,” said Fleutiaux. “To be successful – and stand up to increased competition – it must invest in modernising its own infrastructure and participate in industry-wide collaboration to drive innovation.

“Working with the industry and suppliers, banks can ensure new channels, services and technologies see mass adoption. Ultimately, consumers want evolution; the modern-day financial services sector must come together to boldly embrace this, or risk being forgotten.”

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