Banks or digital companies?

Over the past decade, the banking sector has experienced a rapid transformation. The arrival of new types of consumers has reinvented the business models of other sectors, such as retail, with their different types of customers: ROPO (research online, purchase offline), who do research online but buy at physical stores; showroomers, who do research at physical stores and later buy as cheaply as possible online; and RTB (research, testing and buying), who do research online, test in physical stores and then buy online. Their purchasing processes, also known as journey maps, are obtained by integrating the physical and the digital.

This kind of consumer has gradually entered into banking, which has triggered the appearance of Phygital Banking Customers, a new type of banking customer with no boundaries between the physical and the digital, who has a great number of online and offline channels available for accessing the services offered.

In this context, banks’ challenge is to develop a unique and personalized customer experience that anticipates their needs and offers them the right content at the right time. The only way to achieve this is to possess in-depth knowledge on this new type of banking customer.

These customers make it necessary for the banking sector to use segmentation by person, also known as micro-segmentation, which is only possible with powerful technological platforms capable of conducting predictive analyses to understand customers’ needs before, during and after each stage of the purchasing process.

For the banking sector, digitalization continues to be a priority for maintaining a competitive position and reducing the risk of being replaced. Banks are focusing on redesigning and improving the digital customer experience and migrating sales channels and physical management to the digital ecosystem.

Innovation in the banking sector is centered on developing technologies that streamline and automate processes to make users’ lives easier, such as designing and building a virtual office that enables online management without the need to go to a physical office.

Open Banking

One of the main trends in the sector is open banking, which consists of opening up APIs to third parties. This new reality took effect in January 2018 with the PSD2 regulation (Second Payment Services Directive), requiring financial institutions to open up their payment services to third parties as a means to achieve greater transparency, increase competition, improve UX and reduce transaction costs. In this context, managing digital identity and user privacy becomes especially important.

By the end of this year, 50% of global banks will offer at least five external APIs.


Fintech is no longer a novelty, but it continues to threaten traditional institutions with its groundbreaking technological model. These kinds of startups will be banks’ new competition in the coming years, as they are not subject to financial regulations and are therefore capable of offering greater freedom and flexibility in their services. This gives users advantages such as the opportunity to participate in collaborative financing or to refinance debts simply and quickly.

Neo-banks are institutions that are usually supported by a traditional bank, but have adapted their tools and user interaction to mobile platforms.

Challenger banks are pure Fintech entities that have emerged around online services. They’re usually startups that have arisen from the democratization of mass internet use and mobile devices.

While neo-banks appear when traditional institutions become aware of new trends in the world of finance, challenger banks often emerge from an idea that’s presented to a group of investors or risk capital funds, and then gather funding through various rounds of financing in order to launch the project.


In finance, artificial intelligence will be reflected in applications to communicate with customers (chatbots) and automate processes. In conjunction with other technological developments, other advantages will also appear, such as the possibility of using smart machines to manage their own value creation or the development of cognitive banking capable of creating personalized offers in real time. Banks are increasingly investing in AI in order to improve efficiency while maintaining solid customer service.


One of the latest breakthroughs in this sector is digital onboarding, which allows people to register as new banking customers 100% digitally through a remote identification process. This is made possible by biometric techniques (photographs, fingerprints, etc.) or video calls. Security is a significant user concern in this paradigm, and as a result, spending on next-generation authentication methods increased by 20% in 2018. 

Biometrics will help to significantly simplify complex security processes, and will provide a variety of more reliable and secure authentication methods.

Big Data

Along with the implementation of business intelligence tools, big data is playing a fundamental role in customer knowledge. It allows for the creation of a personalized selection of services and facilitates the expansion of banking boundaries, transcending the traditional limits of this sector.


Another way to deal with digital disruption is cloud banking. More and more banks are choosing to store their data in the cloud due to advantages such as improved service management and information processing, which are among the industry’s most important assets.


Due to its continuous growth, blockchain will once again play a key role in 2019. The effectiveness of this technology is based on the possibility of securely exchanging practically anything (money, ideas, intellectual property rights, etc.).

One of its main sources of potential is related to smart contracts that guarantee the automation of interaction between multiple parties, executed in accordance with agreed-upon rules.

This increases banks’ efficiency in processes such as securities settlement and asset tracking.

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