Author: Simon Cadbury
How the release of the Apple Watch could affect the financial services industry
Wearable technology isn’t a new phenomenon. Consumer interest has been gradually increasing over the past few years, with various product launches such as the Fitbit, the Google Glass experiment and the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch.
However, last week, the launch of the Apple Watch has created unprecedented levels of excitement. Apple has an undisputable track record of dominance in the smartphones and tablets marketplace. Therefore, this new addition to the product range, and entry into the wearable market, stands a strong chance of being a hit with consumers. This is supported by our research: Nearly one in ten (or 12 per cent) Brits say they will buy the device as soon as it goes on sale in the UK.
So what does this mean for the financial services industry? How can providers use the wearable platform to improve the services they offer to customers?
Smartwatch banking apps
In 2013, we created the world’s first smartwatch banking app for the Pebble Smartwatch to help banks bring their customers closer to their money. The app enables users to view their live bank balance and recent transactions and receive alerts on their wrist.
Our research shows consumer interest in wearable banking has been further accelerated with the launch of the Apple Watch. In fact, 19% of respondents would like their bank to offer a digital banking app for the Apple Watch.
This presents banks with an exciting opportunity to improve digital banking, making it more convenient, mobile and effective than ever before. 16% of people say smartwatch banking would be more convenient than on their mobile phone alone, and 17% said it would help them keep better track of their finances.
Citi sets the pace for wearable banking
Citi has already jumped, becoming one of the first banks to create an app for the Apple Watch. The app will offer basic account and transaction information via the smartwatch, allowing customers to see checking, savings and credit card balances, as well as details on the five most recent transactions.
Citi has set the pace and the race is on. It will be interesting to see how other providers in the UK capitalise on this opportunity and what other functionalities are developed for smartwatch devices, in order to make digital banking continuously easier for customers.