By : Dena Hamilton
October 19, 2017 12:00 PM
Just as banks have a range of guiding principles, for example, targets and ambitions, consumers also have key factors they are likely to take into account when choosing who they want to bank with.
In the current era of rising competition in the industry - driven by the focus on PSD2 and open APIs in Europe and the emergence of the fintech sector - it has never been more important for providers to be engaged with what people want.
The list of services and assurances consumers expect from their banks is a long one - and growing all the time - but it's a pretty safe bet that security will always be close to the top of that list.
Security more important than interest rates for Brits
A recent survey by specialist bank Aldermore in the UK found that more than nine out of ten respondents (92 percent) cited security as the most important factor when choosing a bank or savings account. By comparison, 88 percent said the interest rate on offer was a big consideration when selecting a savings provider, while 86 percent prioritized customer service.
Looking at specific security concerns for consumers, the study found that the biggest worry of all is hackers stealing money from an account (35 percent), followed by cyberattacks (17 percent) and the possibility of the provider going out of business (17 percent).
Simon Healy, managing director of savings at Aldermore, said: "We are starting to see a change in perception when it comes to the factors impacting the decision of choosing a bank and savings provider; it is encouraging to see that consumers value security of their savings above all else. It is perhaps reflective of both the rise in online banking and the recent low interest rate environment that security is now an even more important consideration for consumers than simply a leading interest rate."
So what can banks do to ensure they are meeting customer expectations on security? Investment in tech innovation could prove particularly crucial, with 89 percent of those surveyed by Aldermore hoping to see further investment in security technology. Nearly six out of ten (57 percent) said they would trust their bank or savings provider more if it provided biometric authentication.
There are many other exciting technologies that are helping to pave the way towards a new era in security for financial services, such as fraud detection and prevention solutions that use machine learning and data analytics to combat fraudsters and deliver a smooth, consistent experience for consumers.
Combining security with value
There's no denying the importance of a high standard of security in financial services, but banks also need to be aware that this is one of a number of requirements modern consumers are likely to have. One of the biggest challenges facing financial institutions is investing the necessary time and funds into maximizing security, while continuing to deliver the added value and quality of service so many consumers expect.
The 2016 North America Consumer Digital Banking Survey from Accenture provided four key findings showing that banks "must provide value to customers - or risk losing them - and deliver banking customer experiences that blur the lines between physical and digital so banking is easy, seamless and relevant".
For consumers in the US, "value" from their bank could be anything from deals, discounts and rewards, to basic convenience and relevance in their services.
What's clear is that, in order to be truly successful, financial institutions today need to be working on various fronts - investing and innovating behind the scenes to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters, while ensuring that frontline services are keeping up with consumer demands and expectations.