Confluent: Understanding the Future of Mobile Banking

Today, the stakes for delivering an exceptional mobile banking service are higher than ever
In this deep dive, Confluent’s Richard Timperlake walks us through the fierce competition in the mobile banking space today, and the newest innovations…

“There is no understating the effect that mobile banking has had on financial services,” says SVP of Sales for EMEA at Confluent, Richard Timperlake

Indeed, over the past 25 years, mobile banking has revolutionised the way we interact with our banks and the services they offer. Queuing outside of bank branches is fast becoming a thing of the past, and the first interaction many have with their banking providers today is through mobile applications. 

Today, the stakes for delivering an exceptional mobile banking service are higher than ever, as the rise of digital-only and neobanks has upped the pressure on incumbents to deliver exceptional mobile banking offerings.

“Many digital-only banks now offer innovative services like real-time budgeting tools and investment advice through their apps. But mediocre experiences can be damaging – alienating users and damaging trust,” notes Timperlake.

Of course, the best banking experiences aren’t just about the best mobile phone offerings, for Timperlake, “it's about fundamentally changing how people manage their finances with empathy and customer-centricity at its core.”

He adds: “It’s about maximising the value of the data that a customer shares with you, using it to identify and deliver the most suitable products for them, and connecting customers with them through a genuinely unique experience that is personalised and can be changed, in real-time. 

“This shift is far-reaching, impacting every aspect of banking, from account management to loan applications. While the convenience of mobile banking is undeniable, banks must remember that this isn't just a technological advancement; it's a commitment to serving and empowering customers.”

The future of mobile banking features

Crafting a market-leading digital banking experience with mobile at its core is the holy grail for financial services providers.

But, what sets the leaders apart from the competition today? 

Timperlake says: “The future of mobile banking excites me because it's moving towards seamless automation while prioritising secure experiences. Remember the early days of two-factor authentication? 

“It felt clunky at first, but now it's second nature, offering an important layer of protection in a world increasingly rife with fraud. The next wave is even smoother: imagine AI-powered systems quietly working behind the scenes.

“Instead of bombarding you with alerts, picture more subtle nudges. Bought something unusual? Get a discreet notification asking to confirm. Need to pay a bill? The app automatically reminds you before it's due. 

“Imagine AI assistants anticipating your needs, like automatically categorising transactions or suggesting savings goals based on your spending habits. All this, of course, with robust security measures woven in, so you can trust the automation is working for you, not against you.

“This isn't some distant dream. Many banks are already implementing some of these features, building a future where mobile banking empowers you with convenience and peace of mind. It's not just about transactions; it's about a seamless, personalised financial experience that gives you control and confidence in your digital wallet.”

Indeed, mobile banking is already embracing AI in surprisingly subtle, user-friendly ways. Industry leaders today have done away with forced automation, replacing this with a suite of opt-in features and services where Gen AI assistants can learn your banking habits. 

“The important thing is you can choose your level of automation,” adds Timperlake, “ensuring your comfort and privacy are always respected. I envision a future where mobile banking empowers you with convenience and personalised guidance, making your financial life – all powered by AI and ML – smoother and more secure.”

The outlook for in-person banking experiences

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As banking continues its charge to an increasingly digital, mobile future – could in-person services become extinct? Indeed, many leading banks are reducing their in-person presence, but Timperlake feels maintaining some level of brick-and-mortar presence is vital for a full, holistic banking experience. 

“In-person services remain crucial,” he says. “Complex financial decisions like loans or investments often benefit from personalised guidance and human interaction. 

“Some individuals with limited digital literacy or those seeking financial advice may prefer face-to-face consultations – and building trust with a banker can be invaluable for long-term financial planning. 

“It’s important to remember that not everyone has reliable internet access or a smartphone – or, indeed, the skills to use one. Bank branches are essential for financial inclusion.

“So, while mobile banking dominates day-to-day transactions, in-person services will likely coexist, catering to specific needs and preferences in a future shaped by both convenience and human connection.”

What next for mobile banking digitisation? 

It’s clear, that a future where digital and in-person banking coexist is the key to offering a fully inclusive digital experience.

But what’s next in mobile banking’s immediate future? Timperlake believes the next innovation we’ll see is ‘opt-in’ AI options for consumers. 

“Examples include capabilities like fraud detection, which will run silently in the background while features like budgeting assistants or chatbots wait for your invitation. Biometrics could seamlessly secure transactions, but only after you give the green light. 

“This subtle, personalised approach will empower users, fostering trust and control. It's a future where mobile banking seamlessly adapts to the user but respects their right to choose how deeply it integrates into their lives,” concludes Timperlake. 

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