Thursday, 10 January 2019

You probably never imagined you could love managing your money. But you probably never imagined you would bank on your cell phone, either.

Truth is, for those who have embraced it, technology has made financial management remarkably easy. When's the last time you stood in a teller line to cash a check or filled out a deposit slip? Today, online and mobile banking allow us to manage our money in just a few clicks. Technology has actually made banking kind of fun.

But if forward-thinking industry experts are correct, today's technology will pale in comparison to what's to come. These on-the-horizon tools and services will make managing your money so fast, simple, and “frictionless," you'll actually love it.

Alexa, how much do I have in my 401(k)?

According to a recent Canalys report, smart speakers are the fastest growing consumer technology with an estimated 50 million selling in 2018. As consumers get more comfortable searching and buying via smart speaker, the next logical step is to manage accounts — including financial accounts — by voice.

Some large financial institutions have rolled out limited voice banking, and Google and Amazon are busy working on solutions as well. Currently, however, industry watchers believe consumers aren't quite ready, and there are still security issues that need to be resolved. But most experts agree that in the not-so-distant future, you'll be able to say the word and Siri or Alexa will pay your bills, apply for your mortgage, and rebalance your portfolio.

Conversational banking: Banking by bot

Americans love texting. In fact, according to, about 81 percent of Americans use text messaging to communicate every day, and on average, Americans write messages twice as much as they make phone calls. Also, nearly 78 percent of people would prefer to have a text conversation with a business.

Banking by text seems like a no-brainer. But who's going to be on the other end of your text? You're going to text with bots. Computers. Artificial Intelligence. It's called Conversational Banking, and while it's still in its infancy, experts predict Americans are going to love it.

First, they love texting. Second, bots can perform tasks faster and more accurately than humans. What's more, some people find talking about their finances to a person uncomfortable. But bots don't judge. They just perform the task, do it right, do it fast, and everyone is happy. What's not to love?

A branch you'll want to visit

When's the last time you physically went into a bank? It's probably been a while. Because technology has made going to the bank almost unnecessary. You can open accounts online. ATM machines provide on-demand cash. Checks are direct deposited. Your balance is always at your fingertips.

But banks still want to interact with their customers and build relationships. So many industry watchers predict the future holds a completely revamped in-branch experience.

No more velvet ropes or teller windows, the banks of the near future will be much like visiting an Apple store. There will be interactive kiosks and touchscreens. Coffee, free WiFi, and comfortable places for customers to sit and hang out. Sounds like something you could learn to love, right?

A unique, personalized banking experience

It's reasonable to think more technology will make banking less personal. However, the opposite is actually true. According to Diego Blanco, Director of Digital Channels at BBVA, technology is going to make banking more personalized and allow each customer to have a completely unique user experience.

Blanco explained that everyone banks differently. Technology will allow banks to better understand how each customer manages their money and create a unique user experience just for that customer. “The tools will adjust to the customer," Blanco said. “Not the other way around."

He explained this enriched, personalized experience will be made possible through artificial intelligence, which “learns" about the customer and adapts to their needs. Not only will this allow banks to provide unique experiences, Blanco explained, but they will be able to offer each customer solutions for their very specific needs. “We believe this will enable us to add value to the services we offer and drive a better financial experience," Blanco said.

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