How will online banking develop?

This is what online banking will look like in the future

Christian Kastner

New banking apps and mobile payment options seem to make dealing with money easier. However, this makes it more difficult to keep an overview of all financial activities. Online banking on the computer and on the smartphone should therefore mesh seamlessly.

EnlargeMobile banking: combine the simple use of apps with classic online banking on the PC
© istockphoto.com/skynesher

Check your current account balance with your smartphone at the shop counter and transfer the debt for the restaurant bill to a friend in a few seconds: More and more people are getting used to these convenient ways of dealing with money. However, most of them still prefer to do online banking on their computers and via the websites of their respective bank or savings bank.

Combining these two worlds is the challenge to be mastered. Because more and more offers create a certain confusion. The more apps and accounts are used, the more difficult it is to keep an overview and plan your finances in advance.

The majority of Germans would like to use mobile payment

It is especially the young banking apps that attract digitally savvy users with good ideas and designs for their offers. Many startups offer intelligently designed, user-conceived solutions for the smartphone. The power that they can develop with individual functions can be easily understood using the example of the PayPal company. The former payment processor of the online auction house Ebay has meanwhile developed into the most successful provider of online payment solutions. PayPal has around 17 million customer accounts in Germany alone. And there are always new offers, especially for paying with the smartphone. Apple Pay is already in the starting blocks for mobile payments in Germany, and Google is just starting in the USA with the offer to send money via the in-house email service Gmail.

In Germany, the topic meets fertile ground: According to a recent survey by Star Finanz, 60 percent of Germans can imagine using alternative payment options such as Apple Pay.

In the banking sector, on the other hand, download numbers and registered users are often mentioned in order to prove the alleged change of users from traditional banks to new applications. At N26, a direct bank that specializes in managing accounts via smartphone, over 300,000 customers have currently set up an account.

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These are indeed impressive growth figures, but compared to the approximately 54 million checking accounts at banks and savings banks, the new solutions are still in their infancy. Nevertheless, the trend towards mobile banking is irreversible and the way in which the topic of money and banking is dealt with online and mobile is changing rapidly.

The focus is more and more on so-called multi-platform banking solutions such as StarMoney or Finanzblick. The idea behind the somewhat bulky term is to combine the simplicity of apps with classic online banking on the computer. All services and accounts used are clearly combined on one interface. Nobody wants to have five finance apps on their smartphone for five standard functions and then have to switch back to the PC for the sixth task.

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Multi-platform banking is cloud-based, secure, and all data, account balances and transactions can be synchronized on all devices used with just one login. Not only all account movements at banks and savings banks, but also all payments via Amazon, Ebay and credit cards are visible on just one interface.

User-friendliness is also in the foreground in the further development of multi-platform banking. With the triumph of smartphones, user guidance, the intuitive usability of software, is becoming more and more important.

First future trend: automation of payment processes

The majority of customers continue to perceive banking and payment transactions as a chore. Despite trendy apps, they want to carry out monetary transactions as simply as possible in the future. Applications that automate payment and account processes are therefore facing a great future. Only what makes life easier will prevail. And that also means: Applications have to work on all devices and across banks.

Second future trend: voice-controlled banking

The next revolution in digital interaction is imminent. Because the trend is moving away from manual input towards voice-controlled interaction with digital offers. Apple and Google users are already conversing routinely with their digital assistants Siri and Co. Amazon now has a voice-controlled option in its portfolio with Alexa and the Echo loudspeaker on the German market to use its music streaming services, receive news or To have audio books read aloud, to control the house electronics or to order a pizza in the house.

Voice-controlled banking apps and an integration of Siri, Alexa and Co. will certainly not be long in coming. In the future, banking will not only be more user-friendly and less complex, it could also be fun.