There has always been a need to encourage and educate individuals to understand the basics of finances in order to be sufficiently financially savvy to get along in life. How does this change in a world where you no longer have physical cash? What responsibility do financial institutions have to educate and support vulnerable customers?
· Digital natives whilst comfortable interacting and transacting via their devices, anytime and any-place, may struggle to link the intrinsic monetary value to their on-line transaction - the preference for ease, via contactless and automated payments, is their choice. What remains the same is the need for education on budgeting basics and core financial concepts such as interest, debit and credit. The psychological debate around cash encouraging self-control while paying by card or a mobile phone encourages spending should be reflected in how this awareness and education is delivered.
· The nudge to digital, closure of branches, reduction in ATMs and increase in no cash retail, has implications for both the older and more vulnerable in society. There is a need for institutions to remain human and acknowledge the need for additional support and maintain a “straight talking” attitude. Recognising and responding to this group will create a moment of truth with the advisor and institution leading to increased loyalty.
Identity theft and safety is a core topic across all groups, and one that needs constant awareness as the threats evolve and become more sophisticated. This is a need that we see financial institution response to with the support of the regulators.
Technologies such as Open Banking have made it easier for the customer to access all of their accounts via a single banking platform, money management tools are increasingly offered and expected as standard on bank accounts. Fraud detection tools are becoming more sophisticated as AI and Machine Learning advance.
Whilst technology makes it possible I can’t help but wonder what happens when the systems crash – hence the real imperative for financial literacy and understanding.
The recent Visa chaos, during which millions of people who have become dependent on digital payment suddenly found themselves stranded when the monopolistic payment network crashed, was a temporary setback. Digital systems may be “convenient”, but they often come with central points of failure.