A road map for reclaiming the digital customer experience

The rapid pace of upheaval in banking and payments today is leading to many innovative non-banking customer experience ecosystems, with banks largely serving a utility function.

Through these innovations, nonbank players enjoy a role that is front and center, gaining customer mindshare. They have built the customer interaction layer that conveniently integrates financial services into the background. The common examples are payment apps or retail apps — or hybrids of both — that process transactions linked to a customer’s bank-issued credit or debit card. Increasingly, third-party apps are also moving into the financial wellness sphere, trying to become a customer’s financial adviser — with messages linked to purchases and bank-account status — to provide insights on financial health.

The payments process is increasingly a minor, hidden step in the chain. With ongoing digital innovations, nonbanks could take over more of the payments space, too, as well as other financial services. But more importantly, banks stand to lose the all-important customer engagement layer entirely unless they reinsert themselves into the customer experience.

But the path to relevance is still open. True, nonbank fintechs are improving experiences by serving as conduits that link various aspects of a customer’s retail and financial profiles. But these convenient experiences are still fragmented, particularly when we expand the concept of financial wellness from the banks’ perspective.

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