Here Comes The Social Internet Bank!

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Money is important to us. Control over our life situation is too. But then, how can we possibly accept Internet banks as they are today. How can we possibly think that it’s okay to, say, not be able to get a visual overview analysis of our expenses and incomes? How can we possibly put up with the long and complicated OCR-numbers or basic search functionality? And how is it possible that we have such user hostile login procedures?

I can’t present all my ideas for my perfect Internet banking experience in just one post, but I can show you three examples of what Internet banking would look like if I had my say, and also what I think it will look like in just a couple of years. Here we go!

Facebook Secure Connect

Logging in to your Internet bank today is more or less of a hassle depending on your particular bank, but it’s nevertheless a hassle. Banks have been lagging behind the times here, focusing on security, but not on usability. The market forces will inevitably push us closer to an optimal trade off between security and usability. We see people leaving their bank today, simply because the login security solution is too complex (using USB-hardware for example).

To creatively solve this problem outside identification providers will step in. On of those will be Facebook. Our online identity is contained in our Facebook accounts, our Google Profiles, Twitter accounts and other services that we haven’t even learned the names of yet. We have come to trust them for logging in to other services now, and since more advanced transactions are taking place using this login by the minute (buying major chunks of advertising for example), a need for more secure identification procedures will arise. A second version of Facebook Connect called Facebook Secure Connect will be launched using secure authorization technology and will eventually be adopted by the banks. One bank will lead this evolution and the others will be both inspired and forced to follow.

Facebook will lead the way in this development, but Google will be quick to follow. To compete with Facebook, Google will go on a marketing rampage for secure OpenID and couple with Google Budget Analytics:

Google Budget Analytics


The amount of control you have over your budget and cash flow today at your ordinary Internet bank is really a joke. You get a list of your transactions and not much else. Besides that, it’s also really messy to go back and check out your history. My own bank has recently made it possible to export to Excel XLS-format, but give me a break – XLS? In 2010?

Instead, when you log in to your bank using secure OpenID all transactions will automatically be indexed, fully searchable and categorized. You will be able to analyze your economy at all levels from the very basic (cigarettes, food, rent) to the very advanced with cluster analysis, seasonal trends, forecasts and goal tracking.

In step two, Google will also launch Google Budget Analytics For Business where you can do your books and account distributions more or less automatically. This will kick ass for small businesses.

Facebook’s reply to this will be to enable sharing services where you can share selected transactions and events in your feed, much like what Blippy does today. Come to think of it, Facebook will probably buy Blippy.

Open Banking API

Finally, banks will realize that they are best at doing what banks do, and will hand over interface design and function to the experts. Banks will release secure API-sets to allow third party specialized internet bank companies to connect to their systems. This will in turn open up the market for hardcore competition. Google will be way ahead already and will release Google Bank which will be an big expansion of Google Budget Analytics. Here, they will also have tight integration with Google Spreadsheets, and will also allow for seamless integration with Google Chat, Google Voice and Gmail for interacting with your bank’s customer service.

And what about Apple – the self proclaimed customer experience rulers of the universe? They won’t remain on the sidelines for long.

Man, I wish I had the cash to go into this one myself. Call me if you know any investors who would like to change the world with me on this one.

Update: Interesting link about the poor quality of internet banking (in Swedish).

 
About the Blog

This blog is written by Walter Naeslund and has been around since 2007. The blog is about the journey of starting an advertising agency and a sneak peek behind the scenes of what goes on at the Honesty HQ in SoFo, Södermalm. It is also a blog about communication & technology. The blog has gathered almost a thousand posts over the years with several longer and shorter breaks. Welcome and enjoy.
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