What do I want from my bank?

Originally published on Billing Views.

Normally I write about something new that’s happening in payments but today I’m writing about something that isn’t happening!

The other day I was thinking about what I want from a bank. The banks we have in the UK today are little changed from the model that has existed for decades; fundamentally it is branch based. Everything else feels like an add-on, rather than part of the core. The banks are still branch centric and for those of us that don’t want or use branches we are still engaging with a bank that is driven by the branch based cost model. There are one or two exceptions however they suffer from limited product sets and apps with reviews that reflect the fact they don’t understand digital engagement!

I want a bank that is built from the app up. I want to be able to do everything in the app from setting up new payments to depositing the occasional cheque that I still receive thanks to the banks inability to lay them to rest. I don’t want to subsidise unprofitable branches that are used by other customers. I’m happy to pay with a card but I want to see my expenditure appear in the app in near real time, by merchant, by category, so I know where I am with my money. I want to build my own service package on my handset in real time. Is this all too much to ask? In the current world of banking it seems to be. There are glimmers of hope out there with people like Moven doing some very smart stuff in the US. But here in the UK it’s a depressing outlook. Even the new players are wedded to branches – look at what Metro Bank is doing; some beautiful branches but no apps and limited online banking. TSB? Same outfit, new (old) brand. Williams & Glyn’s? Still on the drawing board.

Yes it’s difficult to break into banking but the white label model of Moven and Simple proves it is possible. If they can find the right partners to launch in the UK I’ll be at the head of the queue to open an account!

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