RBR Self-Service Banking Europe: FStech reports

Hosted at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in London, RBR’s 2017 Self-Service Banking Europe conference bought together more than 500 banking delegates this year. FStech’s Chris Lemmon reports from day two of the event.

The first session of the day was hosted by Dan Goodman, vice president of global products and solutions, ATM and cash access for Mastercard US, with his talk entitled ‘Enabling next generation interactions at the ATM’. Goodman explained that the financial industry was “approaching a digital tipping point that will change the face of banking”, undoubtedly impacting upon merchant revenues. In order to keep up with this digital revolution, according to Goodman, companies must place consumer experience as their key priority; otherwise customers will happily take their business elsewhere.

With this in mind, Goodman suggested that firms must develop and bring to market digital solutions that are easier to use than a traditional card. He outlined Mastercard’s vision of a “smartphone-enabled, banked customer”. Mastercard want to make phone-based ATM withdrawals a normality worldwide, in order to improve the domestic and cross-border experience, he said.

To improve the customer experience, Mastercard’s mobile app now includes an ATM locator, full transparency of ATM fees, digitally-enabled transactions and different language capabilities. For security, Goodman explained, the biometric profile of the user is kept on their handset rather than a centralised database – which could fall victim to cyber criminals.

Kuveyt Turk’s product development supervisor Mehmet Cepni and payment systems product development specialist Ismail Kazan took to the stage for the next discussion, ‘The journey from ATM to micro-branch’. The Turkish bank has recently launched the XTM – a hybrid ATM-branch that enables a customer to perform a “full set of banking transactions”.

The XTM includes a touchscreen for user input, two video screens which include a live feed to a remote teller, a pin pad, receipt printer, card reader, scanner, barcode reader, postbox and a printer. Cepni described the early successes of the new XTM system and the positive feedback received from consumers, and noted how many banks around the world were beginning to upgrade their ATM services to provide a similar experience for their customers.

An example of this is Alfa-Bank in Russia, who hosted the next session, ‘Realising the benefits of a contactless self-service channel’. Head of the self-service systems development department, Maksim Dareshin, explained how the bank is on a mission to push forward the use of contactless cards across Russia. Marketing campaigns to promote the technology were pushing rising merchant acceptance and consumer adoption figures, while the bank had introduced a “totally cashless zone” at the Open Air festival in Russia – which proved to be a great success, according to Dareshin.

Regarding the upgrade of ATMs, Dareshin said that the bank made a decision last year to ensure that all new ATMs would be NFC-enabled to serve its 4.9 million active customers. Coupled with the introduction of NFC technology, the ATMs are also equipped with the latest readers to accept all different types of payment methods – including Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The introduction of the new ATMs has already yielded positive results, said Dareshin, with improved customer satisfaction, as well as faster transaction times and enhanced security.

Tonarius Looyesteyn-Worth, product owner, mobile, PoS and e-commerce at Rabobank, spoke of a similar mission in the Netherland in the next talk, labelled ‘Bringing together self-service banking and payments’. He spoke of a “war on cash” for Rabobank, which wants to switch the cash-card ratio in Holland from 60:40 to 40:60. When asked why he thought cash remained so popular in Europe, Looyesteyn-Worth said that “many people still use cash for payments or a sense of reassurance”.

He also spoke of how merchants need to help push the adoption of card payments, stating that “omnichannel management is key for retailers. Merchants have one single platform for accepting all kinds of payments in all channels, which enables the merchant to steer usage of a specific payment type”.

Ray Ehscheid, former senior vice president of store design and merchandising at the Bank of America, held the next talk on ‘Designing the self-service banking channel of the future’. He said that “creating a consistent experience across differentiated networks remains a challenge for multi-channel merchants”, while the rapid growth of integrated channels was beginning to reduce customer traffic in bank branches.

Escheid also noted how the Bank of America had sought to strongly integrate digital and in-store experiences, in order to create a smoother experience for its customers – a theme which seemed to be of paramount importance for all speakers throughout the day.

To conclude the event, Bob Meara, senior analyst, banking group at Celent, spoke on the growth of self-service banking and how it is becoming unavoidable for banks. He noted that “customer relationships are now the top strategic priority for many banks”, with the rise of FinTech firms beginning to challenge the older institutions. He discussed the importance of mobile and omnichannel investment for banks, with consumers now expressing their desire for a more personalised banking experience at the touch of their mobile devices.

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