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May 4, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:50am

Customers’ digital demands for banking services set to disrupt financial services industry

News: UK consumers threaten to leave their bank and insurer if they fail to offer latest technology.

By Joao Lima

Disruption in the banking and insurance sectors is being led by consumers, with Brits at the forefront of transformation in Europe.

"A new pace of change" report by Fujitsu UK&I, has found that 37% of consumers in Europe are willing to consider leaving their providers if they do not offer up-to-date technology. In the UK, 39% of those surveyed said they would leave their provider if digital demands were not met.

When it comes to data, British consumers are more willing than the rest of Europe for banking and insurance providers to use their personal data to offer new services. These services include lowering mortgage premiums (69%), recommending relevant products or services (53%) and information or spending habits (50%).

Conversely, the highest amount of respondents (6%) saying they do not want banks or insurers using their data was found to be in the UK. The European average sits at 2%.

The survey, which polled 7,013 EU citizens, including 1,000 in the UK, also found that despite the boom in card and contactless payments, 44% of consumers still use cash to pay daily.

The UK is the fourth biggest user of cash as 41%, only behind Switzerland, Spain and Germany. The country is also on the frontline in terms of card, contactless card, and online payments.

Yet, despite a high penetration of wearable devices in the British market, less than 5% of consumers actually use the technology to carry out payments. Eastern Europe leads with 10%.

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The report says that consumers are showing they are open to innovative services to make their lives easier.

This progressive consumer attitude has also led to a shift in expectations from financial service providers and a willingness to buy more services from them; offering a wealth of opportunity to current providers.

Elsewhere, in Europe, one in three respondents said they would consider buying energy from their bank or insurer for their home, the same figure agreed on personal data storage, while 30% said they would purchase broadband services from their bank or insurer.

In the UK specifically, nearly four in ten said they would buy energy for their home, 26% would by personal data storage and over 26% would acquire broadband services.

However, the report highlights that with this progressiveness comes a warning bell to traditional providers and already a fifth of respondents said they would buy banking or insurance services from potential disrupters like Google, Amazon or Facebook.

In the UK, 21% would buy banking services from disrupters such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, while 23% would buy insurance services from them.

Francois Fleutiaux, SVP and head of sales EMEIA at Fujitsu, said: "When it makes interaction more convenient they [consumers] are willing to embrace innovation.

"They may not know where they need it until it is offered, but this is where technology comes to the fore – it is the engine that is driving consumer expectations forward and the financial services sector has to live up to this new pace of change."

Fleutiaux also said that while there is no doubt we are moving towards a digital world, this should not and does not mean that traditional channels are ‘dead’.

"For consumers, digital simply means a new way to communicate whether that be their bank, insurer or their favourite retailer – in whatever way suits them," he said.

"’Traditional’ methods and face-to-face interaction still have a place in modern-day banking and insurance.

"Providers that will be successful will be the ones who modernise their back office to integrate these various channels to create ‘banks and insurers of the future’ that provide their customers with all options.

"Consumers want evolution; the modern-day Financial Services sector must come together to boldly embrace this, or risk being forgotten."

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