FinServ and the Digital Divide

Finance and disruption are two phrases which no business ideally wants to see associated with them, but the reality is that the financial services market is a ripe target for the next wave of disruptive technologies to change the way customers access the market.

One-third of consumers analysed by research firm L2 said they would switch from their financial provider to Google, Amazon or Facebook if those providers offered financial services on their platforms. A worrying fact for financial services providers, and another positive one for consumers, is that on average, doing your finances digitally reduces the average transaction cost by as much as 95%.

Financial service companies are not doing themselves any favours, with less than half optimised for mobile services, in a market which is seeing demand for mobile and tablet access rocket. Also, in another sign that banking providers, are well behind the curve, only 16% show up in search results for non-branded keywords, which reflects the vigilance with which providers promote their brand, without thinking of the organic drivers of search traffic when it comes to new customers finding financial services providers.

If you take the much fabled millennial market as an example, over 90% are seeking to do their banking and financial transactions digitally, and expect to interact with their financial services providers in the same way. Without doubt, a move by the large digital operators into the financial space would have a serious impact. Interestingly, some of the rare innovations which mainstream providers have tried in this space, such as digital transfer app Me2U from AIB, have been discontinued. While it’s in no doubt that the future belongs to financial institutions which can adapt to the digital landscape is the most accessible way, there seems to be no clear leader in the field for consumers at present in terms of making that leap, which leaves the market considerably open for a disruptive and genuinely innovative influence, with benefits for consumers from the ensuing effort by mainstream providers to catch up with whatever disruptive technology people latch on to en masse.