Thanks to advances in smart-phone technology and the continued ubiquity of the internet in non-urban areas, it’s now easier to take control of our money without taking a trip to the bank. Over the last decade it was all too common to find yourself being punted from call centre to call centre when trying to make communications with your bank.
The process has recently become much more streamlined for those of us who are technically literate. Older members of society are likely to still favour a trip to their local branch to talk through their finances, but for the rest of us here are some of the biggest changes to banking that have bled into our everyday lives.
As mentioned before the massive uptake of smartphones has allowed many of our most recognisable banking brands to launch their own apps for customers. Much like the ATM revolution of the eighties, this has been drawn up as a convenience for both bank and customer. For us, it means making payment transfers and shifting savings from the comfort of our own homes.
For the banks, they can dramatically reduce overheads without needing to fork out for as many physical bank branches and staff. These apps are moving into a second phase as money management tools have become more prominent in the last year.
You may have seen those insufferable Facebook posts clogging up your news feeds that ask you to put your first pets name together with the street you grew up on to give you your Jedi name. As fun as this may appear at first it has been argued that these sorts of posts are designed to harvest the personal secret question answers that are traditionally used for banking logins.
Questions like your first teacher in school or our first pet usually make up the traditional banking login questions, but thanks to hacking techniques becoming ever more sophisticated, the banks have had to tighten how they keep customers accounts secure. Using fingerprints as a form of data verification came with its limits as the technology was in its infancy. Now, even on your iPhone, you can easily use your unique fingerprint to verify your identity making it all the easier.
It’s hard to say where we can go from here in terms of the relationship we have with our money, but it can be useful to look at the regard with which early technologies where first met with, and how widely adopted they are now. As mentioned earlier, fingerprint recognition never looked like it would take off due to the process being unreliable to begin with.
If we apply this same logic to the likes of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, perhaps we will start to see the true globalisation of finance. No longer will our money be constrained by individual geographic currencies. We won’t worry about the dollar being down against sterling. How this will be fully rolled out across multiple markets successfully remains to be seen.