Just a couple of years ago, the act of transferring money via a mobile banking app was fraught with obstacles. Now, however, customers are expecting far more than just basic services. Biometric identification through fingerprint or face detection is being embraced, while artificial intelligence is finding its way into the most pioneering digital banks.
As banks become increasingly digital, the race to capture the most innovative tech and put it to good use has revved up. We take a look at five of the banks and financial firms that are doing it best.
DBS has been crowned the world’s best digital bank by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence, thanks to its simultaneous embrace of biometrics, artificial intelligence and intuitive tech. The company has time-saving at the centre of its thinking, so is keen to abolish wasted time for its customers. DBS has also leveraged artificial intelligence to integrate digital banking into people’s everyday lives. Instead of opening up the bank’s app or going into a traditional brick-and-mortar store, all customers need to do is message their bank on WhatsApp or WeChat. Messages such as “how much do I have?” or “pay my mobile bill please” are then received by innovative artificial intelligence tech, which can carry out commands automatically. DBS’ chatbot can also give customers banking tips or provide information like the location of their nearest ATM.
Atom is an app-based bank that boasts account opening “in just a few minutes, with no need for branches or paperwork”. The bank has caught headlines owing to its highly competitive rates, which are made possible by its low-cost digital model. Atom has also fully embraced the digital space by providing face and voice biometrics, as well as a chatbot that can respond immediately to queries using AI tech.
Nutmeg is one of the most established of a new series of mobile-based wealth management platforms. It offers a user-friendly platform for investment portfolio management, allowing customers to start from as little as £500. The platform is available online or on a smartphone, allowing people to avoid the usual complexities of wealth management. Customers set their own goals and risk level, and are then provided with an ‘intelligent’ portfolio that can be accessed and tweaked through a simple digital interface.
Mondo is another app-based bank that recently became accredited, officially gaining its license in August. The bank makes it possible to open an account without a human conversation, focusing purely on the digital experience. What most sets Mondo apart, however, is its approach to simplifying everything to do with a customer’s finances into a user-friendly app. The app provides a real-time breakdown of spending habits, and enables quick mobile money transfers, as well as being seamlessly integrated with other day-to-day tech, including Uber.
With many start-ups leaping forward in the digital space, traditional banks have often lagged behind. However, Barclays has managed to speed ahead of the rest, and its app is consistently among the top-rated banking apps for both Apple and Android. Some neat extras are helping it hold its popularity, like the ‘direct call’ feature that allows customers to get through to an operator that already knows their name and account details.