Are apps the future of banking?

There’s no denying that banking is undergoing a revolution. A much needed change from what we’ve traditionally known as banking. History shows that every time a customer is given the chance to avoid 1-2-1 interaction with their branch, they will grab it with both hands.

Technology advances of our time, including ATMs, online and phone banking, are clear reinforcers of this – all of which have been wholeheartedly embraced by the masses.The British Bankers’ Association (BBA), which represents the major UK banks, unearthed the fact that nearly £1bn a day is transferred using the internet.

Their research has also shown an incremental surge in downloads of banking apps for mobiles and tablets, with 7 million log-ins to accounts per day.Most people are never more than arms reach away from their phone and with unrestricted access to the latest cutting-edge apps, it comes as no surprise that the consumer is also looking for a simpler more transparent way to manage finances.

If you are able to carry out everyday tasks from managing your music playlist, to your weekly shop, even your fitness and health – is there a way your phone could effectively operate as your bank?Indeed, all the big banks have apps that let customers review their balance, move and send money, and so on.

But the consumer-led revolution expects more.In addition to the stats, studies by BBA suggest that the modern day customer is expecting a much wider range of services than just the facilitation of withdrawing and depositing cash – an experience similar to that of the, “businesses that have got it sussed, like Amazon and Apple.”

So how are mobile app-only banks working differently to achieve this? Well, for one, unlike the major banks, you won’t see a single stand-alone branch anywhere along your local high street, or any other street for that matter.

These banks operate purely as mobile banking, everything is done through the app. However, this doesn’t mean you’re alone. The app-only banks usually have dedicated call centres as well as the facility to start a web chat from within the app – effectively simplifying the process further.

In addition, many of the mobile app-only banks also offer unlimited, fee-free usage of your card abroad, as well as some even offering low-cost foreign exchange services. They are able to do this as part of affiliate linking, which many of these banks have established with renowned companies throughout the industry.

Someone regarded as a pioneer in the fintech industry, and someone who is responsible for driving this change is Anne Boden. Anne’s CV is impressive: 30 years in the finance industry, Former COO Allied Irish Bank, Former Head of EMEA, Global Transaction Services at RBS, responsible for the UK’s first mobile only, same-day payment transfer and now CEO of Starling Bank, one of the UK’s leading mobile-only banks. S

he is also the driving force behind Starling’s recent raise of £48M, one of the largest early-stage investments for any tech company in Britain. However, perhaps a little known fact about Anne is that she also grew up in Swansea and she is passionate about the tech ecosystem we at TechHub Swansea are nurturing.

“I grew up in Swansea. I went to university here. And I’m delighted to be back home, visiting TechHub, sharing my story as a computer technologist who has now built a bank, and meeting many of the entrepreneurs coming out of Wales. Many forget there is more to tech in the United Kingdom than just Shoreditch in London,” she said.

“But as I’ve said before, technology is boundless– it is an attitude, a movement, and a science– it is genderless, and ultimately, it is about a better life. This is what drove me to found Starling Bank, which we think of us as tech start-up with a banking license. We want to give everyone a chance at a healthy financial life and at Starling, we’re using technology to do just that.”

We’re lucky enough to be welcoming Anne on August 7th, where she will be talking more about how the customer experience is becoming an increasingly important factor driving change in the finance world; how she has built a bank and raised £48M; what the future holds for Starling following their recent Apple Pay integration, and the launch of their Marketplace API, opening them up for further collaboration and transparency; and, ultimately how she’s managed to achieve everything she has as a passionate, Swansea lady.

Sign up to hear more from Anne Boden on 7th August at TechHub Swansea.