While attending the Finovate conference in the US recently one thing was clear – the face of online banking is changing. And when I say the face, I am talking about just that, the face of it to users.
There are some exciting new applications in the online banking space in the US, in the form of internet banking platforms that are designed to go beyond the transactional nature which it is today, and move into the realms of helping consumers with their finances in a broader sense. Rather than the generic “one size fits all” approach, they are offering users genuine personalisation of their online banking experience to meet their needs.
Leading the way is Jwaala who market their product as BOB (“Better Online Banking”). And unlike every second coffee shop in Sydney claiming they have the best coffee in the city, I think Jwaala can sit safely behind their call, because it IS better. It offers several tools which help users manage their personal finances, do budgets, integrate their accounts from other institutions, and get personalised reports and alerts. And it is all highly customisable as the user wishes. It’s all a long way ahead of the current offering in Australia.
Another more recent player (only launched in January 2009) is iThryv who are doing some great things with a genuinely consumer friendly interface, and highly targeted content. Beyond just transactional information, they deliver highly targeted content to the user, in a form the user chooses. For example they have developed an interface designed for and focused on kids aged 5 to 11. It’s a long leap forward from the CBA Dollarmite account!
Given that ANZ was the only Australian financial institution at the Finovate conference, I think we can expect ANZ to lead the way in Australia with some innovative new customer focused online banking tools in the months ahead, either partnered with one of these companies or taking their ideas and developing them on their own. Hopefully personalisation of the online banking experience in Australia is not far away.