News & Views - Savantor

Technological change and payments

Friday, 16 August 2019

UK Finance has recently issued their UK Payment Markets 2019 report, which provides a detailed analysis of the use of all types of payments in the UK during 2018, as well as forecasts of payment trends in the UK for the next 10 years.

One of the most striking aspects of the trends highlighted is the increase in speed of technological change and significant innovation in payment methods evolution. In particular, the advent of smartphones together with online banking, mobile banking and contactless payments have greatly influenced our behaviour in making payments.

This speed of change does not come without casualties – only this week the ECB warned that “accidents” are likely to happen as the big banks try to mimic the success of digital challengers, leading to an increase in the risk of being hacked as they attempt to offer similar features to the new players.

Barely a week goes past without news of another large hacking incident coming to light and the banking industry is no exception – with arguably more potential vulnerability to data misuse because of the content of the data held.

Not so long ago challenger banks were perceived to be more vulnerable because of their newness and lack of establishment. However, as banking apps are increasing significantly in popularity with the rise in smartphone popularity, these newer banks are currently winning the popularity race with their mobile banking apps.

In a recent poll of bank apps undertaken by MoneySavingExpert of over 5,000 consumers, the apps of challenger banks Monzo and Starling won easily in terms of being rated by the quality of their features and their ease of use. 78% and 70% of users respectively regarded their apps as having lots of features and excellent usability, whereas of the traditional banks, Barclays came top with 57%.

Apps have to some extent become a de facto guide for many aspects of life, with many aimed at self- help or self-education in a variety of topics. Amongst the myriad available to consumers today, there are a number aimed at helping youngsters to manage their money responsibly and learn how to control their finances – surely something that must be viewed in a positive light when many struggle with personal finance management.

The pace of evolution in technology and its integration into our day-to day lives is a fact that cannot be escaped; the impact of these changes on today’s payments landscape is equally as fast-paced and behaviour-influencing.

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