Fintech is an increasingly common word in our everyday lexicon. The debate now is whether Fintech is replacing or strengthening traditional branch banking – and if it’s the former then why haven’t traditional banks disappeared altogether? In this blog post, we’ll get into this debate and give the Neuromarketing perspective.
Traditional branch banking
In traditional branch banking, customers physically go to a bank branch in order to carry out their various banking and other financial activities. The banking industry was also able to engender trust, credibility and legitimacy with clients through the physical branch itself. Banks were initially built at a grand scale, using expensive materials with impenetrable safes to give the illusion that they knew what they were doing and that your money was safe with them.
These were initially also popular due to convenient proximity to people’s homes and excellent face-to-face customer service. However, as the population continues to explode and daily demands on our time grow, making time to go to the bank has become an inconvenience. Banks have also had to replace the grand establishments of old with low-cost retail space to try and extend their physical presence to the masses.. Moreover, rural communities find themselves underserved by traditional branches, which are often too far away and only have services geared towards middle and upper income clients.
As the name suggests, Fintech is shorthand for Finance Technology. Broadly, it is the application of technology in the finance sector. It enables companies to make their financial operations more efficient and accessible. Uses include: mobile payments, banking apps, blockchain and cryptocurrency, and crowdfunding platforms.
You probably use this technology every day without thinking about it. You pay for your morning coffee using Zapper or Snapscan, you raise money for your passion projects on Kickstarter or Patreon, and you do much of your banking on a mobile app. This integration of Fintech into our lives has changed the expectations we have for our banks: we want a seamless, low-cost experience that we can access anywhere, at any time. Similarly, banks are able to save on the costs of having a physical branch with staff.
So why hasn’t a complete transition from traditional branch banking to fintech occurred?
What’s the hold up?
Money is a touchy subject for us humans. Research shows that when we lose money, it activates the same part of our brain that is activated by physical pain. We might think that our financial decisions are purely rational, but, according to Neuromarketing, we are quite emotional about our money.
For smaller transactions, such as weekly purchases or monthly debit orders, Fintech works perfectly. These are less painful for us, and usually result in immediate satisfaction and have a high utility, such as that new pair of shoes or a much-craved pizza. Fintech reduces the hassle of necessary payments. However, for larger financial transactions with higher risk, such as investments or purchasing a house, we are understandably nervous. No matter how friendly or informative an app’s interface is, it won’t make us feel as safe as talking to another human who seems to know their stuff. We want to be able to ask questions and have the answers explained to us in an empathetic, clear way. Thus far, machines haven’t been able to accomplish that level of comfort, confidence or empathy.
Moreover, in the rush to adapt to the tech boom, many banks have created apps that aren’t actually optimised for the people using them. Besides the usual bugs of poor integration with the bank’s other services, glitchy apps or apps that shut down for no reason, even a well-performing app from a functionality perspective can fail to take its users’ needs in mind. Neuromarketers aim to reduce this as far as possible by assessing online user journeys and understanding the emotional experience a user has while navigating a website or app.
The role of neuromarketing
Neuromarketers convert biometric data into insights that can be implemented immediately into your user interface and site navigation so that the resulting user experience is emotionally engaging and optimised to achieve your business objectives. Real-time eye tracking gaze replays can also provide you with the ability to see exactly where your users are looking, what grabs and maintains their attention and understand how your website or app is visually navigated. Eye tracking heatmaps (the visualisation of aggregated attention), as well as the order and importance of the visual influencers, can also tell you what the key focal areas are as well as the visual hierarchy of the various UI elements so that the entire interface can be optimised.
All in all, neuromarketers can advise on the best possible way to make users feel safe and confident in the brand while making the human-computer interface feel more empathetic and more human. And with this level of insight, maybe the traditional branch will become a thing of the past.