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Banks Add Tools and Support to Help Customers Cope

This Month in Retail Banking

Providers of consumer banking services are ramping up their tools and products to help customers cope with soaring inflation and rising interest rates, according to new research from the Digital Banking Hub. Irrespective of size, providers are trying to help customers navigate financial stress by offering content and self-service tools. 

As well as examining public-site support information and tools, the research analyzed email communications, in-platform support, personal financial management (PFM) capabilities, credit score facilities and other saving and spend-management features. It found that a number of calculators have been introduced on public sites, and preexisting content has been repackaged to direct visitors to other types of support for their financial health. In addition, in-app PFMs, once differentiators in the app space, have now been rolled out widely to help customers visualize, understand and monitor their spending as living costs rise.

The problem with most PFMs, however, is that they look backward, not forward, even though most consumers want to know if they’ll be “safe” for the rest of the month or over the next few months. Banks and other financial institutions truly differentiating themselves are using open banking to give customers a complete view of their product positions across all their providers, including a snapshot of their net worth.

The research also assessed credit-scoring tools, which are now widely used by mainstream-banking providers. Credit reporting agencies are now partnering with banks and other third parties to present credit scores in-app and online. By offering these services for free within their retail checking platforms, these providers are better able to cross-sell credit products.

Providers are also considering the emotional toll of financial uncertainty. The research found, for example, that most support material – including videos and written content – uses reassuring language just as they did in the early stages of the pandemic.

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