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Are the banks at end of life?

May 4, 2018


Much has been said about the death of the big banks, and although times are not as good as they used to be and margins are crunched there still seems to be life left in them yet.

What’s new for 2018 that might change that, or not?


Open Banking


The 13th January 2018 changed the banking game forever when the joint UK and EU directive, which forced the nine biggest UK banks to give customers control over their data, came into force.


Open Banking has been heralded as potentially the most disruptive change to the stagnant banking market that we have ever seen. But most people haven’t heard of it – yet.


Open Banking Limited is a non-profit organisation trying to educate consumers on the benefits of being in control of your data and more informed of market choice through their solution compared to your high street bank app.


Mobile wallets


Not hugely adopted in the UK – beyond some retailer apps like Starbucks the game changer in this space is taking the wallet away from a brand and onto social.


We Chat Pay has over 650 million users able to transaction across the platform in multiple ways, using vouchers, QR codes, and in-app purchases. And it is moving out of China – linking payments into our daily lives through social in a way Facebook can only dream of.


Cryptocurrencies & blockchain


Bitcoin feels like a party most of us haven’t been invited too, seeing the revenues spike for a virtual currency you have to “mine” for – all seems quite odd to the man on the street. And where do we start with the uses for blockchain for a non-technical role?


But when Barclays starts to take it seriously you know, it is becoming mainstream. Barclays has a reputation for being ahead of the game, with Pingit and contactless launched before the other main players and a strong commitment to innovation. 


They’ve not yet put their name on any solutions in these areas but with the amount of research they are sharing it is bound to be on their roadmap.


Acquisition and development


If you can’t build it yourself why not buy it? On 26th March 2018, American Express acquired Cake Technologies, a mobile payment technology to increase their payment options and expand client base.


It is also true that some of the most exciting Fintech incubators are bank owned – the legacy players know that to maintain and hopefully develop position they need to work with, and sometimes acquire the innovators rather than avoid them.


2018 looks set to be another exciting year of development in the payments world, and there is still room for all players to shake up the way we transact.



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