Mobile banking is ubiquitous and people actually use it. The same cannot be said for wearables. Even with the coming Apple Watch juggernaut, the jury is still out if customers would actually use their watches (and other assorted wearables) to do banking transactions. Do you really want to bank while you go walking or running or otherwise occupied that you can’t use your phone?
Even the few banks that have come up with some sample apps on wearables – either as a pilot or actual product apps – have largely done it as a marketing gimmick. One will be very surprised if those apps have any sort of serious uptake. It is reasonable to assume that the raw numbers won’t point to any serious adoption.
The trick to adoption is to offer services or transactions that not only have user experience tailored for the wearable, but also integrate seamlessly with the other banking channels the customer is already using with the bank. Needless to say, the bank’s systems need to be open to adding another channel with minimal costs and resources.
One area where wearables definitely have potential is around alerts. While I am never going to be doing a wire transfer (or even pay a bill for that matter) on my smart watch, I wouldn’t mind getting an alert for a potential fraud activity on my smart watch. With Apple Watch just around the corner, we’ll soon potentially see millions of new customers wearing smartwatches opening up another huge channel for banks to reach their customers (not counting the already proliferating smart channels – Internet TV banking or smart fridge banking anyone?).
Banks should be wary of the kind of alerts that are displayed on the wearable or smart watch. While I wouldn’t want to know about every coffee I buy (hey I paid for it with my Apple Watch, so I would know!), I would definitely want to be alerted if someone uses my card to buy a HDTV in Karachi. The customer should have the ability to opt in for the types of alerts that need to be sent and their thresholds (like those that exist in online banking today). That will allow the customers to use wearables as a complementary channel to mobile banking, minimize the risk of being perceived as an invasive solution and increase the engagement levels.
To summarize, if you really want customers to use their smart watch to do banking, it should be for something that is ideal for the channel and should be for the kind of transaction that they’ll want to do while they are in their bed.
Our cross-platform application development suite, Appzillon, allows banks to offer the best mobile banking experience to their customers and it is being enhanced to seamlessly extend mobile banking to wearable banking. Visit www.appzillon.com to learn more about our offerings.