In banking, millennials branch out

Written by on December 1, 2015 in Opinion with 2 Comments

seismic shift in bankingIn banking as in communications. New research points to seismic shifts in behaviour beyond anything we can imagine. Millennials do not see the point of traditional banking and believe that the current technology giants will become the banks of the future. In fact almost all age groups agree. And this finding is true of both ‘under banked’ and ‘over banked’ economies. Google and Apple are cited as being in poll position.

In economies where there is little banking infrastructure the tradition of going to a bank branch is completely irrelevant. As mobile payments become ubiquitous, the need for credit cards and traditional bank accounts becomes even more irrelevant.

Even in economies such as the US, 10 percent of people between 18 and 54 believe that Google is a viable banking institution. The only strange thing the survey revealed was that people think that companies such as Google and Apple could provide better customer service than traditional banks. And they do not even have a phone number.

The banking eco-system of the future lies in a neatly knitted together mesh of social media, mobile wallets and easy to use apps.

This does not mean that banks are doomed. Necessarily.

What it does mean is that the future of banking is going to be as different as the future of communications.

Before telcos sit back and chuckle at the plight of their banking cousins, the future of communications still has a deal of shifting to do. Telcos, too, have a habit of chasing red herrings, such as data. Of course, we need data, but no-one buys data. We buy products.

During the ridiculously artificially hyped shopping spree called Black Friday (why Black anyway?) millions of people climbed online to buy products, actually, presents. At the end of the process, when they get to the boring bit about delivery address and payment details, they are asked about their delivery preferences. And they pay for it to be delivered quickly, if that is what they want. You do not have to copy an order number and head off to the post office’s site and arrange delivery with them.

It is part of buying the product.


Yet telcos and banks do not think like this.

As the future of banking and communications unfold, both need to think very differently because there is simply not room for multiple ‘post offices’ in a country. And in both arenas, companies like Apple, Google and Facebook – and others – will continue improving on the inroads they have already made. If telcos and banks do not think differently, and quickly, those tech giants will dominate, well, everything.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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  1. Bob says:

    We’re doomed…
    It’s called Black Friday because that’s the time of the year when Thanksgiving/ Christmas shopping picked up sufficiently to push US retailers into the black (after a year of trading at a loss). Supposedly. So ‘black’, but in a good way…

  2. Roger says:

    The problem with all this is that as soon as Google or Facebook become banks they have become well… banks. Then the culture changes. In this mix the other dark horse is the Telco’s. They have a transactional relationship with 7 billion customers world-wide and already offer cash services in some places.

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