Banking in the air

In the digital banking business, we love to complain about how hard it is to find the right balance between security and usability. Today's users are tech-savvy. They are connected 24/7, spending lots of time on social networks. They are getting more and more impatient that banks are not providing services on a par with the likes of Google, Facebook, Uber, etc.

On the other hand these customers entrust banks to handle all their financials. Therefore they expect full-blown security as standard.

We all know that usability and security are not the best of friends. They seldom come hand-in-hand. Our UX dreams always need to be validated and formed by strong security principles. It’s something we hate, and the end result is often not what you were looking for. How unfair life can be in the fintech industry, right? But is it really a unique problem – and is it worse in banking?

Just imagine a world where you need to watch a tutorial each time you want to make a payment.

And these are tutorials you cannot skip.  Even though you have seen them a hundred times, you are forced to watch them over and over again, every time you want to make that payment.

"Ahh, is it a foreign payment you are trying to do? Sorry, buddy! You need to watch it in the recipient language too." Could it get worse? Sure it can!

"Your money is routed through different banks? Guess what? You are invited to enjoy each of those banks' tutorials. In multiple languages, of course."

If you read the title of my blog, you've probably guessed that I'm just joking about a banking service designed by airline companies following aviation restrictions.

But let's not finish the fun as there are plenty of more situations lacking the smallest bit of usability.

For example if you are about to make a payment, you surely need to authenticate yourself. But how many times? First, when you log into the system. Then during every step you make to open that payment screen we will kindly ask you to do some form of authentication. And just in case, we will do a full anti-money laundering and a ‘know your customer’ check on you before you finish.

After all this fun we ought to ask ourselves what can we learn from all this. The answer is: We must keep on innovating to make our users’ lives better. Just as airlines do. Check out some of Air New Zealand’ssafety demonstrations or the latest Air France video. Not to mention the superb production from Virgin America. Because if the airline doesn’t do it, there will be some innovative individuals who will take the show themselves.

DISCLAIMER: the writer of this post has formed these thoughts while enjoying the hospitality of an airline during a flight trip delayed by 10 hours.

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