Author: Katia Noble
If you can bank using your phone, and you can check your bank balance and transactions on your smart watch, why not in your car on your way home from work?
One of the first things people do (if you own a relatively new model car) when they sit in their vehicle is to connect their phone so they can safely take calls hands-free. They can then use their phone sat-nav to navigate the journey home (anyone there who still buys sat-nav devices?), select their favourite Spotify channel and maybe do even more… The proliferation of the Internet of Things has no limits and the technology required to enable banks to interface with their customers in their cars already exists. Some financial institutions have already foreseen the possibility to extend their digital reach further and present the customer with yet another choice of how to connect to their money.
Auto apps and hands-free services
Caixa Bank in Spain launched their second auto app at the end of February called Línea Abierta Basic. It allows their customers to check their bank balance, make account transfers and locate nearest bank branches and ATMs, all activated via a voice command through an Android phone. Their first car app from Jan 2014 (SegurCaixa AUTO) was focused more on the bank’s auxiliary services such as insurance, roadside breakdown assistance, location of gas stations, valet parking etc. Whilst their first app may be very useful in particular circumstances, their new app is the kind of app that can significantly increase customer interaction frequency.
Using commuting time to increase customer interaction
In the UK for example it is estimated that those of us who commute by car spend over 10 hours a week behind the wheel. This is 86 min per day if you include weekends, or 120 min per day if you exclude them as most people would try to relax over the weekend. If we take this a step further, London traffic is twice as bad as the national average and one can spend over 40 min in gridlock daily. Now, let’s cross-reference this with the average use of mobile. A study conducted by O2 shows that people spend also about 120 min a day on their phone, approximately 24 min browsing the internet and 25% of people would use their phone instead of a laptop. If you are in the car, whether driving or stuck in traffic, why not do more than listen to your podcasts connected from your phone or the voice of your sat nav? It is the perfect place to check your bank account, complete a couple of transactions, even find out how long until you fully own your car in complete privacy (if you are alone of course) and save that valuable time later for your family. Or why not order a pizza through your car dashboard on your way home to save you from cooking since the traffic was worse than expected. Pizza?
Intergrating navigation and payment technology
Yes, pizza, because a new partnership between Accenture, Visa and Pizza Hut will launch a trial vehicle ordering system this spring in Northern California for ordering, payment and pick up of pizza. Visa will provide the payment technology with the car connected navigation system to create the ordering system. This is then connected to Bluetooth and beacons to inform restaurants that the customer has arrived. This is an awesome sounding futuristic concept to think that you can easily order and pay for things from your car, but someone always has to make the first steps. Visa’s Senior VP of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships Bill Gajda quoted Gartner research from January 2015: By 2020 it is estimated that more than 250 million vehicles worldwide will include some form of embedded connectivity.
The possibilities are exciting. However, first steps are always difficult. For example Caixa’s new app currently only works in Ford cars that have voice activation command available. There will be a few hurdles to overcome before this service can become mainstream. There will also be questions around safety, both for the driver and his data, which need to be addressed. But let’s not forget that smartphones are the hub of new connected experiences. Would you bank in your car? I would.