How the Future of Banking Will Rely on IoT

IoT can be used in the banking industry; some examples include using IoT for ATMs, using devices to help curb spending, having more flexible ways to interact with bank employees and open accounts and using wearables to help efficiency within banks.

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Illustration: © IoT For All

Today’s world is increasingly connected, and that’s largely due to the Internet and now the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT has changed how people track their fitness levels, protect their homes and much more.

Unsurprisingly, then, it’s also causingindustry-wide shifts in various sectors. Banking is one of them.

ATMs Will Improve

There are millions of automatic teller machines (ATMs) around the world, and people interact with them in their hometowns, as well as when they travel. It’s also common for non-banking businesses, such as convenience stores, hotels and nightclubs, to have on-site ATMs as conveniences for customers.

ATMs have been around for decades, but they’re going through improvements thanks to IoT. Some have embedded sensors that can detect potential tampering that could indicate ATM theft attempts. Others collect data such as by tracking which ATMs get the most use in a given town and at what times. Then, the parties responsible for keeping those machines stocked with cash can respond in kind.

Moreover, some ATMs link with other connected services, like smartphone apps. Wells Fargo is among the growing number of banks that allow customers to retrieve cash without using their bank cards. They receive single-use codes on their smartphones that serve the same purpose as inserting a card.

With help from IoT, banks that offer this service or a similar one could get statistics that tell how many people use that card-free service. Those entities could then use that data for marketing or customer interaction improvements.

People Will Have More Ways to Keep Tabs on Spending

Budgeting is something almost everyone has to do. Apps exist that link to bank accounts, then let people set spending alerts. When they get too close to the defined upper limit, they get smartphone notifications that urge them to curb their spending. Some brands are confident IoT offers even more opportunities to help people stay within their budgets.

A company called ieDigital has a service called Interact IoT that allows banking customers to log into their bank accounts and connect them with an assortment of IoT gadgets intended to keep their spending in check. The two devices compatible with the platform so far are Pavlok, an IoT device that delivers mild electrical shocks to the wrist to help break bad habits, and the Nest Smart Thermostat.

More specifically, the Pavlok provides a stimulus when people go over their set spending limits, but they get smartphone notification warnings that they’re getting close first. Concerning the Nest Smart Thermostat, people indicate how much they want to spend on home heating each month. If they use up that amount, the Nest automatically turns itself down to a user-designated temperature, helping them save money.

Financial brands know that customers want help monitoring their spending. They may soon follow the lead of ieDigital and figure out how to leverage IoT devices as tools to help.

Speaking of spending, forecasters predict IoT spending will get a boost in 2019. Research indicates the global market value of the IoT should reach $745 billion in 2019, representing a 15.4 percent increase from 2018 levels. Various sectors will contribute to that change, but banking will undoubtedly play a role in the growing market.

Increasing the Options for Personal Banking Services

Most leading banks offer numerous personal banking services, ranging from checking accounts to automobile loans. Those services help people get the most value from their financial institutions. Some customers specifically look for certain amenities when deciding which bank deserves their business.

IoT tech will likely positively impact those services by giving people more ways to access them, similarly to how online banking sparked changes.

Some banks enable people to speak commands to Amazon or Google smart speakers and check their account balances or pay bills, for example. In some cases, people can even use the technology to tell the bank they’ve lost their debit cards, thereby letting the enterprise swiftly cancel those cards and prevent fraudulent transactions.

Setting up an account could become even easier, too. In the Irish market, AIB improved its app to let people open accounts via their smartphones. Ordinarily, the process is cumbersome because it requires people to set up in-person appointments and it’s often not possible to arrange an appointment on the same day of that initial visit.

Plus, people have to show utility bills as proof of residency. But, if they’ve just moved to a new abode, they may not get a statement with the updated address until the next billing cycle occurs. When people use AIB’s app instead, they have video chats with banking agents and only need to display their passports for identification.

Banks know customers want to take care of their financial needs without hassles. People should expect brands in the sector will continue to look for ways to use the IoT to provide more possibilities or cut out unnecessary steps.

Helping Banks Streamline Their Communications

Most banks have various departments, plus employees who handle particular customer needs. For example, a person interested in taking out a business loan might initially express that need to a bank teller at the front counter, but would likely go to another part of the bank, such as a dedicated office, to chat to a loan specialist.

Communications between departments must happen smoothly to keep customer satisfaction levels high. That’s why HSBC partnered with Samsung for a trial involving customized Gear S3 wearables for enhanced interbranch conversations. Preset messages such as “Your 10 a.m. appointment is here” allow bank workers to tell their colleagues things without needing to walk to other departments or make phone calls.

The wearables also give people alerts when recipients finish the requests the sender distributed. Then, there’s no need to wonder if the person took the necessary action to help a customer or if they need to follow up. Then, in cases when text-based messages won’t work, the wearables also have built-in speakers and microphones.

It’s also worth pointing out this test to evaluate the worthiness of wearables for banking communications happened in New York City. It’s one of the busiest places in the world, meaning the Samsung devices probably helped workers handle near-constant discussions every day.

We’re Still in the Early Stages

Although this overview of uses for the IoT in banking revealed several existing use cases, adoption levels are still relatively low.

Banking brands will likely experiment with the possibilities mentioned here, as well as implementing many others in the coming years.