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Digital Banking Trends to Expect in 2021, From the Head of Digital at Chase

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  • Allison Beer is chief product officer and head of customer experience and digital for Chase.
  • She says the pandemic has accelerated changes in consumers’ digital banking needs.
  • Over the next year, Beer says, there will be increased demand for personalization, automation, and real-time payments.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The last year changed all industries, including banking.

Consumers have embraced digital banking tools for several years, but the pandemic accelerated adoption even further across demographics. For example, half of Chase’s new digitally active customers since March 2020 are over 50.  

New research suggests that we can expect consumers to engage more actively with their bank’s digital offerings in 2021 and beyond. According to a recent Chase survey, 80% of respondents prefer to manage their finances digitally rather than in-person.

We believe this preference will continue to increase demand for personalization, automation and real-time payments as consumers continue to shy away from cash. 

Personalization

Every year, tech companies release new devices, hardware and software that allow consumers to update and personalize their experience. Consumers want the same experience from their bank.

Banking will become even more personalized in 2021, helping foster deeper engagement between customers and the features and services that their bank offers. 

Advanced technologies — like artificial intelligence — can help banks create more customized experiences that adapt to each customer’s individual needs. For example, people can already use their mobile banking app to enjoy offers and rewards from some of their favorite retailers and brands. Customers can also view unique insights about their spending and savings trends or credit score to make more informed financial decisions. 

Automation

In a post-vaccine world, consumers will still want to find the most convenient and effective ways to manage their finances. We expect digital resources that assist with budgeting and bill payments to play a major role in future digital banking enhancements.

Automation, especially for payments and savings, has made it effortless for consumers to stay on top of their finances. Essentially, they increasingly want to use their mobile apps to “set it and forget it.” Moving forward, we anticipate that we will make an even wider array of automated tools available. 

Real-time

Digital payments became even more popular last year, as consumers relied on safe, convenient and contactless methods for completing real-time peer to peer (P2P) payments. In fact, in 2020, the Zelle Network processed more than 1.2 billion transactions totaling $307 billion in payments. Consumers and businesses can easily process transactions using a variety of real-time payment platforms — whether they are paying rent, splitting a dinner bill, or paying the babysitter.

The early adopters of this technology were younger generations, but in 2020 we saw older customers use this way of paying more frequently. Real-time payments will undoubtedly grow in popularity as both consumers and businesses become more comfortable with the convenience and security it provides. 

Digital banking will further influence who consumers choose to bank with. COVID-19 has increased customer preference for the convenience and speed that digital banking offers through websites and apps. To better serve consumers of all ages, banks will need to be agile enough to react quickly to the evolving needs of their customers.

At the end of the day, who consumers choose to bank with will increasingly depend on how easy it is for them to manage their entire financial life digitally from one place. Banks that make that experience seamless, insightful and simple will gain loyal customers who engage more frequently with their products and services.

Allison Beer is chief product officer and head of customer experience and digital for Chase. She’s been with Chase since 2017. 

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