Technology has advanced in ways many thought wouldn't be possible and has solved problems we didn't even know existed. At the forefront of this movement has been the financial services industry, which has developed technology that has completely changed the banking experience over the past decade. Gone are the days of going to a bank branch and waiting in line to make a deposit or withdrawal; the digital age has made transacting quicker and easier than before. Below I have highlighted two recent technology advancements in the banking industry that could further revolutionize the customer experience.
A New Way to Pay
Last month, the U.S. banking industry launched Zelle, a new person-to-person (P2P) payments network that will allow more than 86 million U.S. mobile banking consumers to send and receive money from one bank account to another in minutes, using only a recipient's email address or mobile number. Zelle took years to establish because it required the banking industry's fiercest rivals to come together to make the service work. So far, five of the largest U.S. banks (Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Capital One) have enabled customers to use the new payment network. Over the next 12 months, Zelle is expected to become available in the mobile banking apps of more than 30 banks and will offer individuals with accounts at banks not connected with Zelle the ability to pair a Visa or MasterCard debit card with the network.
This long-awaited network is the U.S. banking industry's answer to the popular mobile app Venmo, which allows users to exchange funds digitally. In addition to Venmo, other technology companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple all offer payment platforms that allow users to send money to each other. What separates Zelle from its competitors is integration with the mobile banking apps of Zelle Network participants and funds will be available directly in consumer bank accounts generally within minutes. This differs from a service like Venmo, which requires a standalone mobile app and funds exchanged between users need to be transferred from Venmo to their bank account, which can take up to 3 business days.
To learn more about Zelle and its participating financial institutions, visit www.zellepay.com.
A New Way to Use the ATM
In March, Wells Fargo announced that customers now have card-free access to all of its 13,000 ATMs around the country. Instead of using their physical debit or ATM card, customers can use any Wells Fargo ATM using an 8-digit One-Time Access Code and their Personal Identification Number (PIN). Wells Fargo is the first of the large banks in the U.S. to upgrade all of its ATMs to allow for card-free access.
The process is simple and easy too. Customers simply log into the Wells Fargo mobile app, select Card-Free ATM access and request a one-time-use, 8-digit access code. Upon arriving at the ATM, the customer enters the access code and their PIN. This will allow the customer to transact just as if they had used their card.
In addition, later this year customers will be able to transact at ATMs with the "tap and pay" technology in an NFC-enabled smartphone. This would allow customers to initiate transactions through mobile wallet providers such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay. For more information on cardless ATM access, visit https://stories.wf.com/taking-atms-to-the-next-level-with-card-free-access/.
While Wells Fargo was the first to roll out the One-Time Access Code feature nationwide, others are not far behind. Chase is testing the technology at a limited number of locations and Bank of America has introduced the technology at about half of its ATMs. For banks and customers, cardless options can be more secure than using a debit or ATM card because the mobile banking app generates a unique code that expires within 30 minutes and eliminates the risk of fraud through skimming devices. Skimming devices are affixed to the card reader at ATMs and allow fraudsters to secretly swipe cardholders' information.
Expect Slow Adoption
Both of these new banking technologies are in their early stages. Venmo is deeply entrenched as the go to for person-to-person payments, but Zelle should gain more traction as more banks connect with the Zelle Network. In terms of the card-free option for ATM use, consumers have been slow to adopt virtual wallet technology available through Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and other providers, so it may take time for people to leave their debit cards at home. But expect the technology to catch on as financial institutions continue to fine tune and advance the technology available through their mobile apps.