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Banking safely in a connected world

In today’s connected world, serving global customers is now a distinct possibility for any financial institution regardless of size or location. From Tokyo to Toronto, more consumers are using the internet and smartphones for purchasing decisions. Offline is now online – with business and retail banking an essential digital tool and cryptocurrencies on the rise and Bitcoin now a more popular search term on Google than Euro.[1] The UN expects that 3 billion people will be online within the next 2 years and global ecommerce is set to grow by $17 billion by 2016.[2] The growth potential for those businesses that seize the opportunity and target these customers is significant.

The Bancorp and Payleven are great examples of online success stories within the finance industry. Companies that started small but scaled up and went international. The founders of these companies were quick to see the opportunity that the internet provides. Now businesses across the banking and financial sector can deliver products and services to customers worldwide. But it is still important to communicate what makes you unique and different. Rarely has the often used business mantra ‘think global, act local’ been so apt.

Glenn Porter
Glenn Porter

But how do financial services retain the service and security of a local store when operating on a global scale? The key – as always – is to know your customer and personalise your service. Easier said than done you might think when your customer happens to be 10,000 miles away. Difficult to understand your customer when they speak another language and live in a different country. A person you’ve never met.  And are unlikely to ever meet.

So how do you get to know your customer and provide them with a great online experience? You need to build trust. And the first major step to building trust is to take all the effort out of doing business with you.  For instance, you need to establish and verify the identity of your customer. If you can verify identity, contact details and address instantly, without them even realising this is being done, you set in place an expectation of seamless efficiency.  A secure, safe online environment gives the customer confidence that they will obtain a high quality service and that the risk of being defrauded won’t be lurking in the background – because everyone else will have been verified too. It also give your business credibility as a professional and safe place to trade, which is imperative for the financial industry, traditionally perceived as ridden with risk.

Verifying a customer’s identity and contact details has further benefits other than just preventing fraud. If your systems ensure that you have the correct contact details – based on the customer’s preferences – it is likely that the delivery of your service will be more efficient. It also paves the way for a more interactive relationship, allowing you to personalise your service to them and decrease the likelihood of churn. Consumers who have enjoyed a positive banking experience can become your best marketers – but the converse is also true!

We call this Identity Intelligence. It’s the means by which organisations can connect together the identity data that people are sharing to improve their service offering,  customer experience and, ultimately, business performance. If identity fraud is the misuse of your digital identity, then Identity Intelligence is the positive use of it to create a positive experience for both the consumer and the organisation.

The internet and mobile technologies have created an opportunity for the financial sector to grow its international capability like never before. But the ability to create good experiences for customers will remain critical. Banks that really understand what their customers value most, and use the knowledge to build strong relationships with them, will pull ahead of their rivals in the quest for sector dominance.

[1] IFX Expo 2014, Cyprus

[2] http://www.freshbusinessthinking.com/news.php?NID=22733&Title=Global+e-commerce+to+grow+by+%2417+billion+by+2016