Wearable Banking: Are you ready?

POSTED BY Nitin Bhas

Over the past 12 months, banking vendors have been working towards integrating a new channel to their offerings: smart wearable devices. As we approach 2015, wearable banking and payments via smart watches and smart glasses, are going to be a key trend over the next 12-24 months.

Intelligent Environments developed its first smart watch banking app for the Pebble as early as in November 2013 and are ‘in discussions with a number of banks’ for deploying the service. The company plans to extend the service to Google Glass in the near future. While banks including US Bank, Wells Fargo and ING Direct are developing apps for the Google Android Wear OS, Caixa Bank, Westpac New Zealand and Banco Sabadell have already launched banking apps for smart wearables.

According to our latest research, smart wearable device shipments, including smart watches and glasses, will exceed 100 million by 2017. These devices are capable of bringing contextual information to the user conveniently and provide a number of ‘push’ opportunities to the FIs.

However, a number of financial institutions and vendors have asked us: “should wearable banking be a top priority for us?”

While wearable technology is not mainstream yet, customers, particularly those of Gen Y, are attracted to banks that offer innovative and exciting new services that increase their ability to efficiently and effortlessly manage their lives on the move. Banks are eager to capture such customers early and achieve ‘lock-in’. The ability to offer cutting edge banking applications and services is also a way for banks to secure customer loyalty and increase customer satisfaction. So we believe it is question of whether they want to be amongst the first ones to offer next generation digital banking or not.