This article is part of a VB Lab Insights series paid for by Capital One.
In the digital world, it’s easier than ever to spend. Thanks to tools like digital wallets and other online payment options, you can buy gifts from a favorite online retailer, pay a utility bill or secure last-minute concert tickets en route to the venue, all with a few swift taps on your smartphone or laptop. It’s clear that the dramatic shift in the ecommerce landscape over the last decade has successfully removed friction in the online purchase experience.
But, with great power comes great responsibility. Making purchases online has become incredibly convenient, but this also means that it’s getting more and more complex for consumers to keep tabs on their finances. Who has your card number? What number is stored where? Which purchases are recurring, and when? While removing complexity at check-out, we’ve inadvertently added it elsewhere.
Historically across the financial services industry, consumers have had to rely on monthly statements to get a holistic picture of both their one-off purchases and recurring spend — which made sense when every purchase was an in-person swipe. But now, consumers are making dozens of transactions each month (in multiple ways), and that once-a-month, line-by-line transaction view is no longer sufficient to support the ways in which we spend.
Consumers are asking more of their financial institutions. They’re looking for their financial institutions to proactively help them surface and take action on the most relevant insights and information pertaining to their financial accounts — before, during and after every purchase happens.
Focusing on the full lifecycle of consumer spend
At Capital One, we’re working to provide our customers with a truly personalized, comprehensive and contextually relevant view of their finances. Standing on the shoulders of a multi-year technology transformation and data advances in the cloud, we’re launching tools at scale driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning to empower customers to more easily facilitate and personalize their spend management routines.
As the industry continues to evolve innovations in spend management, there are three main areas that should be kept top-of-mind in product development:
1. Proactively surfacing the right information and providing transparency
The first step toward helping customers better understand their finances is to surface proactive insights and information relevant to their accounts. These insights — such as an increase in a recurring charge or a prospective fraud alert — help illustrate a more transparent and real-time view of their accounts. At the same time, it’s equally important to offer customers the opportunity to independently explore their finances in a simple and easy-to-understand user interface. Here, customers can explore their own spend trends, such as recurring or upcoming charges for bills and subscriptions, monthly changes in recurring charges, and more. At Capital One, these account management tools are delivered as enhancements to our mobile app and website, enabling customers to tap into a familiar resource in new and differentiated ways.
2. Making financial insights and tasks actionable
Hand in hand with proactive insights are clear, readily available avenues for customers to take action. Say, for example, you’ve signed up for a free trial of a new streaming service. Capital One can detect that you’ve enrolled in a free trial and proactively offer to notify you before the trial ends so you can cancel your enrollment before it becomes a paid membership. This high-leverage actionability puts the control back into the hands of customers, in turn, unlocking confidence, control, and easy-to-use customer experiences.
3. Keeping the customer front-and-center
Ensuring that customers are able to make sense of the huge amount of data that exists is critical. At Capital One, we keep the customer at the heart of what we’re building, ensuring customers have access to the right insights at the right time, ultimately helping them to save time and money.
Spend management features are becoming increasingly desirable to consumers, especially given the impact of inflation and other economic issues that make keeping tabs on your finances all the more important. With instant or near-real-time access to spend insights, consumers can make more informed decisions about their money and financial goals. We’re excited to be on the cusp of launching even more of these features for Capital One customers this year.
The bottom line
The way we spend online is evolving, and consumers deserve evolved tools to help them better manage it. Whether these tools are helping you spend more easily, facilitating your understanding of your spending history and trends or empowering you to take action to make your finances work better for you, it’s an exciting time to explore the value that new tools and technologies can provide. Everyone deserves a personalized experience — complete with valuable insights and actionability — that meets their specific banking needs.
And it can — and should be — right at their fingertips.
Dan Van Winkle is Vice President for Spend Experiences at Capital One.
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