Presented by Wells Fargo

It goes without saying that technology is increasingly woven into our daily lives, and the over-abundance of touch points is causing consumers’ digital lives to become progressively more complex.

But as the world continues to evolve — and the need to deliver ever faster grows — there is a great focus and opportunity for the financial industry to adapt right along with it.

Understanding how a customer wants to connect will most definitely determine the future of banking. With that in mind, here are five ways technology is helping simplify finance for consumers and will continue to be refined moving forward to remain relevant.

1. Streamlining consumers’ financial lives 

As a financial institution, it’s important to recognize that customers are not asking for disruption — they’re asking for simplicity. Efforts to advance products, services and experiences must be about increasing choice and customization.

In July, Wells Fargo announced a new digital experience called Control Tower to help customers streamline their fragmented financial lives. It provides customers with transparency into all the places their Wells Fargo card or account information is stored via a central hub view inside the Wells Fargo mobile app.

Consumers currently have their banking credentials and payment information spread out among countless apps, financial services providers, mobile wallets and merchants. Control Tower provides an easy way for Wells Fargo customers to not only see where their Wells Fargo account information is stored, but also to control where their card is connected at individual merchants by providing an on/off switch, and the ability to update billing information from one single, convenient, and secure place.

2. Providing secure identify management 

Another area financial institutions are exploring is utilizing biometrics to provide easier, more secure identity management for customers across all channels and devices. Already, some corporate bank customers across the industry are scanning their eyes, using voice recognition, or fingerprint sign-in capabilities with their mobile phones in place of an ID and password to access their bank account.

3. Using AI to improve the customer experience

There is a shift in the industry toward using artificial intelligence as a way to improve customer experiences, and reinforce the fundamental safety and trust of the financial services ecosystem.

Financial institutions are increasingly incorporating analytical and predictive tools and messaging into the customer experience to learn from customers’ transactional data and contextually anticipate their financial needs.

For example, if a customer receives an incoming deposit that is in addition to their usual pattern of deposit transactions and is not needed to meet their normal expenses or scheduled payments, we can highlight the deposit and suggest the customer save the funds or pay down debt. Conversely, if the predictive banking feature anticipates that a customer will not have enough money in their checking account to pay an upcoming regularly occurring bill, it might suggest transferring money from savings to avoid an overdraft charge.

4. Providing enhanced data-sharing capabilities

With the growing number of sites, apps, and internet-connected devices, there is an increasing need for customers to be able to share their personal and financial data with third parties in a safe and secure way.

By forming strategic agreements with fintech companies, financial institutions can create an innovative and more reliable data-sharing platform for customers who use popular financial management tools. 

5. Meeting customers where they want to be

For the first time in May, Wells Fargo had more mobile active customers than online desktop customers and the desire for simple, on-the-go access continues to grow, so it’s imperative we’re meeting our customers in the places they want to be, when they want to be there.

One key area we’re focusing on is utilizing chatbot functionality to increase the ease and convenience for how our customers interact with us. Using chatbots will be able to help us transform how we communicate with the next generation of customers.

Earlier this year, Wells Fargo announced a pilot to test an AI-driven customer chatbot experience for Facebook Messenger. We’re also embedding our cards into a next-generation mobile wallet in service of our customers, so they can pay with Wells Fargo when and how they want.

As the movement towards connected devices evolves, more and more things will be connected, be smarter, and have a role in commerce. In order to keep up, financial institutions have to adapt with our customers and lean in to the change. One of the most exciting aspects of the financial services industry today is the use of innovation and technology to build stronger relationships with customers — through our bankers and digital capabilities.

Jim Smith is head of Wells Fargo’s Virtual Channels business, with responsibility for Wells Fargo’s digital, phone and other remote channels’ strategies and capabilities. A 20-year veteran with Wells Fargo, Jim has helped bring internet banking and financial services to customers since Wells Fargo became the first bank online.

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