Internet Banking: Relevance in a Changing World

Surprising, but true – Internet-based activity is not the preserve of the young “digital native” generation alone. A 2008 survey says that Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1976) uses Internet banking significantly more than any other demographic segment, with two thirds of Internet users in this age group banking online.

Gen X users have also professed their preference for applications such as Facebook, to share, connect and be part of a larger community.

This is some irony in this, since online banking, as we know it today, offers minimal interactivity. Unlike in a branch, where the comfort of two way interaction facilitates the consummation of a variety of transactions, the one way street of e-banking has only managed to enable the more routine tasks, such as balance enquiry or funds transfer.

It’s not hard to put two and two together. A clear opportunity exists for banks that can transform today’s passive Internet banking offering into one that provides a more widespread and interactive customer experience.

It is therefore imperative that banks transform their online offering, such that it matches the new expectations of customers. Moreover, Internet banking must journey to popular online customer hangouts, rather than wait for customers to come to it.

There are clear indications that the shift towards a “next generation” online banking environment has already been set in motion. It is only a matter of time before these trends become the norm.

Leveraging of Social Networks

Forward thinking banks are leveraging existing social networks on external sites to increase their visibility among interested groups. They are also deploying social software technology on their own sites to engage the same communities in two way discussions. Thus, their Internet banking has assumed a more pervasive persona – customers are engaging with the bank, along with its products and services even when they’re not actually transacting online.

Heightened visibility apart, banks can gain tremendous customer insight from such unstructured, informal interactions. For example, a discussion on the uncertain financial future among a group of 18 to 25 year olds could be a signal to banks to offer long term investment products to a segment that was previously not considered a target. Going one step further, a positive buzz around a newly launched service can create valuable word-of-mouth advertising for the business.

Collaborating through Web 2.0

The collaborative aspect of Web 2.0 applications has enabled banks to draw customers inside their fold more than ever before. Traditional methods such as focus group discussions or market research suffer from the disadvantages of high cost, limited scope and potential to introduce bias. Feedback forms merely serve as a post-mortem. In contrast, Web 2.0 has the ability to carry a vast audience along right from the start, and continue to do so perpetually. Thus, an interested community of prospects and customers participate in co-creating products and services which can fulfil their expectations.

The pervasiveness of Web 2.0 enables delivery of e-banking across multiple online locations and web-based gadgets such as Yahoo!Widgets, Windows Live or the iPhone. This means next generation online banking customers will enjoy heightened access and convenience

A New York based firm of analysts found that 15% of the 70 banks tracked by them had adopted Web 2.0, a number of them having done so within the last 12 months.

Standard Chartered Bank employees connect with their colleagues through Facebook and use the platform to share knowledge, clarify questions and participate in discussions on ongoing company activities.

Bank of America, Wachovia Bank and Commonwealth Credit Union have built a presence within interactive media to create awareness and keep up a dialogue with interested communities. They have employed a variety of methods, ranging from creating YouTube communities to launching campaigns on Current TV, a channel in which viewers determine content.

Personalisation of Online Banking

Vanilla e-banking divides customers into very large, heterogeneous groups – typically, corporate, retail or SME, with one type of Internet banking page for each. That’s in sharp contradiction to how banking organisations would like to view their clientele. Banks are moving towards customer-specificity, almost viewing each client as a “segment of one”, across other channels, and online banking is set to follow suit. For instance, a specific home page for home loan customers and another for private banking clients could well be a possibility in future.

Interestingly, National Bank of Kuwait had the foresight to do this several years ago – they enabled customers to determine which products they would view and access, and were rewarded with a dramatic increase in online transactions.

Money Monitor from Yes Bank allows customers to choose their landing page – for example, they can set “all transactions”, “net worth” or “portfolio” as their default view. Other features include the ability to categorise transactions as per customers’ convenience and the printing of custom reports.

Empowerment Online

Beyond doubt, Internet banking has created a more informed, empowered class of customers. This is set to climb to the next level once customers are allowed to proactively participate in many more transaction-related processes. The Internet has already made it possible for customers to compare product loan offerings, simulate financial scenarios and design custom retirement portfolios. Going forward, they would be able to consummate related transactions – which means, after comparing interest rates, they could originate a loan online, and once secured, they can begin to repay it online as well.

Portalisation

The emergence of Web 2.0 technology coupled with banks’ desire to personalise their e-banking to the highest degree is likely to result in “portalisation” of Internet banking. The idea of banking customers being able to create their own spaces online, filled with all that is relevant to them, is not that far-fetched. Customers can personalise their Internet banking page to reflect the positions of multiple accounts across different banks; they could include their credit card information, subscribe to their favourite financial news, consolidate their physical assets position, share their experiences with a group and do more – all from one “place”.

Money Monitor enables customers to add multiple “accounts” (from a choice of 9,000) to their page. Accounts could be savings or loan accounts with major Indian banks, or those with utilities providers, credit card companies, brokerage firms and even frequent flyer programs. Users can customise their pages as described earlier.

As banks seek to develop their Internet banking vision for the future, in parallel, they will also need to address the key issues of security and “due defence”. While it is every marketer’s dream to have customers work as ambassadors, adequate precaution must be taken to prevent the proliferation of malicious or spurious publicity. Therefore, before an individual is allowed to participate in a networking forum, he or she must have built up a favorable track record with the bank. The individual must be a recognized customer of the bank, having used a minimum number of products over a reasonable length of time. Qualitative information about the person’s interaction with the bank’s support staff (for example frequency and type of calls made to their call centre, outcome of such interaction and so on) may be invaluable in profiling the “right” type of customer who can be recruited as a possible advocate.

Collaborative Web 2.0 applications may necessitate opening up banks’ websites to outside technology and information exchange with third party sites, raising the spectre of data and infrastructure security. A robust mechanism of checks and balances must be built to ensure that the third party sites are secure, appropriately certified and pose no threat to the home banks’ sites. Likewise, before a third party widget is allowed to be brought on to a site, it must have passed through stringent security control.

Due diligence must be exercised before permitting users to place a link to another site to guard against the possibility of inadvertent download of malicious software, which could, in the worst case, even result in phishing originating from the banks’ sites.

It is equally important for a bank to guard its customers against invasion of privacy, data theft or misuse. The concept of portalisation envisages deploying technology to bring information from other banks’ or financial service providers’ websites into the home bank’s site. The home bank must ensure that its customers’ personal or transaction related information, which may be shared with the other providers, is not susceptible to leakage or outright misuse.

Banks will do well to partner with an Internet banking solution provider which has not only the expertise to translate their vision into a cutting edge e-banking experience for the user, but also the foresight to define boundaries for safety. With security concerns adequately addressed, next generation Internet banking is full of exciting possibilities. Banks that seize the opportunity may find that Internet banking can become a means of differentiating themselves from competitors, rather than a mere cost cutting tool. Clearly, providing a more powerful and interactive e-banking experience, is the way forward.

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Where To Find A Wetsuit For This Fall

During the fall, there are numerous recreational activities that take place. With the season approaching, there is need to ensure one is fully equipped to enjoy the best experiences. Among the important acquisitions for this event include the wetsuits that should be sought before hand. These are specially designed clothing to use in the waters. Of importance is to ensure that an ideal source for the wetsuits. From the source, one need to seek out for the following features.

One of the important considerations is the quality of products on offer. With the right quality of the products, it means the sought product will have capacity to offer with the desired range of protection. The clothes in this respect should be properly insulated to serve the need at hand. Materials used in its production therefore need to be of the best and high quality to have capacity to serve this prevalent need.

Activities undertaken in the water pose the risk of getting the clothes soggy and this may happen in the event the choice of the wetsuit is not fitting to the body. The select source in this respect therefore needs to offer with a wide range of sizes to cater for varying needs of different persons. When seeking to take part in water sporting activities and therefore offer them with a fitting choice for each individual whether a member of the family or the team.

Each individual person has a variation in the taste and preference. This also comes in making choice for the wetsuit to buy and therefore it need to be met accordingly. The choices available in certain instances may require to feature certain aspects that the buyer believes should be involved in the items they acquire. In this respect, the select source should offer with custom options for the wetsuits. The deals serve ones taste therefore from the platform on which the custom choices are created for this purpose.

Cost is an important consideration when seeking for a wetsuit. While it is important to have one, cost factors may come as limitation to get the desirable choice. The select source in this regard should offer with affordable choices of the wetsuits. The best source in this respect need also to offer with discounted options for this quest. This helps to create resources to use on other needs from the savings made.

Dealers offering with wetsuits are numerous. Of importance is to ensure that research is undertaken to pick the best offers. This may entail among other things seeking for quotes on the desired choices. The quotes offer a platform for price comparisons. Cost factors however should not come as compromise to the quality of the wetsuit to source.

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Tips for Co-parenting After Divorce

Having a family comes with a lot of benefits buy in case there are issues that cannot be solved you will need to get a divorce and stay separately. Having a divorce is not an easy thing at all and you will have to make sure that you consider the issues and the problems that come with getting a divorce. When you have a divorce you will need to make sure that you find a way that you both will be able to take care of the kids that you have and ensure that they will not be affected a lot, in coparenting. In this article, you will be able to learn the things that you will need to make sure that you pay attention to on the ways to co-parenting after divorce.

When you make a choice to communicate you will be able to have a good co-parenting after divorce and this will be able to help the kids on the pain they would have gone through, in coparenting. It will not be an easy task to listen to your partner after divorce as there will be a lot of tension an there is no one how will be willing to listen to what the other person has to say. One of the things that you can do in order to ensure that your kids will not affect a lot by the divorce that you have is by talking to each other as you will all be in the same life. When you choose to communicate with your partner you will be able to help the kids that you have through the process.

When you choose not to expect your ex to change you will be able to have a good co-parenting after divorce and your kids will be happy and move on fast. There are a lot of people all over the world who expect their partners to change and you will need to make sure that you avoid that. In order to make sure that you will be able to have a good co-parenting after divorce with your partner you will need to make sure that you remove the thinking that your partner will change as they will never change, in coparenting.

By always putting the kids first you will be able to ensure that you have a good co-parenting after divorce and your kids will not be affected a lot by the divorce, in coparenting. You will need to make sure that you put the need of your kids ahead of everything else as this is the main reason as to why you are together. You will end up getting your kids to love you even more by showing that you care about them more than you care for anything else, in coparenting. By reading this context you will be able to learn co-parenting after the divorce which will ensure that your kids will be safe, in coparenting.

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Smart Tips For Choosing The Best Auto Insurance Cover

Your vehicle is one of your most prized possessions and you need to ensure that it is well protected. One of the best ways of doing this is buying the proper auto insurance coverage. The market is populated with a lot of insurance agencies which makes it hard for you to make your choice easily. On the other hand, different products are all over which means that you should exercise due diligence before you make your final purchasing decision. The aim of this blog is to guide you accordingly in that direction so that you will be satisfied with your choice.

You must make sure that you are buying your auto insurance policy from the agency that has been operating the business for a long duration. This is because you can trust that they have a lot of experience and competence that will enable them to offer you the best service delivery. On the other hand, it is in order to visit the internet for the purpose of accessing the useful resources that will help you pick the best service provider. Look at what the clients that have engaged the auto insurance agency in the past are saying.

One of the aspects that will guide you in making a suitable choice for the auto insurance agency is the cost. You must ensure that you are financially able to pay the premiums that are quoted. It is a good business decision to compare the rates that are offered by different insurance providers for the purpose of getting the most competitive ones. You must, however, ensure that you are getting the coverage that is sufficient and your money’s worth. This means that you should base your eventual choice on cost only as that may cause you to get shortchanged on value.

When you are searching for the right auto insurance agency, it is essential to confirm that they are representing providers that have a strong financial base. The importance of this is that you will have the guarantee that your claims will be processed and settled as fast as possible. For this reason, you must endeavor to seek to know the financial ratings of the insurer from the online sites that are dedicated to providing those statuses.

You must make sure that you are going for the auto insurance agency that holds the necessary licensure and registration that gives them the authority to offer services in your area. If the service provider is a member of the regulatory bodies in the market, you are on the right path. This way, you will be in a position to find out if the agent has been accused of engaging in unprofessional and unethical behaviors. As well go for the company that is well-rated in the better business bureau and one that has a good image in the business.

Look for the auto insurance agency that is based in the area where you are residing. The importance of this is that you are going to rest assured that the services that you will receive will be fast and efficient. On the other hand, this will be cost-effective.

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