UBank’s Peter O’Malley speaks on the saving goals for 2020 and the rise of banking apps in the finance world.
Smart saving habits is front of mind for Australians across every demographic and new data released by UBank has revealed the most common saving goals in 2020 and how Aussies plan to achieve their targets.
UBank noted that nearly two in five Australians are saving for a home, whilst 25% are saving for a rainy day and a further 20% save for a holiday.
The saving figures differ significantly depending on each goal, as those saving for a home are aiming for $67,000 for a house deposit - compared to that of $31,000 for a rainy day, $11,000 for a holiday and $20,155 for a car.
UBank head of digital marketing Peter O’Malley alluded to the optimistic features of the data, particularly millennials and their financial resilience in the face of a forever-changing and unpredictable economy.
“It’s great to see that saving up for a home is consistently showing up as one of our users’ top priorities, and that millennials are not discouraged by the fluctuating state of the economy,” he said.
“Putting money away for a rainy day or saving for a holiday are also increasingly popular saving goals.”
O’Malley noted that given millennials make up 70 per cent of UBank’s in-app budget tool users, the bank is placing a strong emphasis on the digital side of the business to ensure they keep up with the rapidly evolving way in which consumers utilise their banking services.
“We prioritise keeping up with the latest technology to help them reach their goals,” he said.
“Services like UBank’s in-app budget tool are a great way to keep on top of income and expenses, and track spending in real time to achieve these goals.”
Not only do UBank’s figures point to a changing economy, they also highlight the increasing relevance of banking apps and the noticeable impact they are having on the finance world.
“There are plenty of reasons behind the surge in banking apps, and it’s poised to continue as the presence of technology only appears to be increasing,” O’Malley said.
“The finance industry has been completely disrupted by banking apps and digital tools, similarly to how we saw digital banks disrupt the finance industry almost 12 years ago.
“We’ve seen a shift in what the everyday customer expects. This is being largely driven by the great experiences offered by the likes of Netflix, Spotify, Uber and Apple along with the plethora of apps supporting our every need. Banks have no choice but to adapt to keep up with these evolving needs.
“The introduction of banking apps has empowered people to take control of their finances by having access to real-time information and the option to access their finances whenever and wherever they like.
O’Malley said UBank’s banking app is able to offer innovative tools to help customers make more informed and smarter money decisions than ever before; made possible by personalised and detailed insights.
“A key example of this is UBank’s in-app smart budgeting tool Free2Spend, which not only gives customers insight into their spending behaviour, but also lets them know how much they can spend after bills and savings so they can stay on track to their goals and really be the boss of their own money; something UBank is committed to,” he said.
Given their enormous prevalence, O’Malley alluded to the positives banking apps provide customers compared to that of traditional banking methods.
Customer expectations are changing along with the evolving capabilities of the smart phone and the experience the apps provide,” he said.
We see this in our customers behaviour, 70% of our customer digital interactions each month are via our Android and iOS banking apps.
The smart phone is the new branch and has been for the last 5 years. Not only for Millennials but for customers that we refer to as having a ‘Millennial Mindset’, people that want the convenience of self-serving via an app and don’t necessarily want to speak to someone.
“In addition to this, the use of smart notifications provides the avenue for Banks to have a different relationship with their customers by pushing information to customers at the right time via ‘living services’ notifying them of events that they might not otherwise be aware of such as an upcoming bill, an increase in spending, progressing towards their goals or fraud.
“In addition to this we are continuing to move closer to a cashless society. We stopped queueing up to pay for bills years ago, and today people are relying less and less on physical cash particularly with the increased popularity of digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.”
With the rapid rise of the banking apps, there ae some natural growing pains for those in the industry.
With that in mind, O’Malley noted some of the hurdles he has seen first-hand and how to combat such problems.
“One of the main hurdles facing the digital banking industry is that apps can lack personalised customer service and physical interactions.
“If this isn’t taken into account when designing experiences it could potentially impact loyalty.
“As a digital bank, it’s really important to us that when our customers do choose to interact with us outside our app, they speak with someone local, in Australia.”
O’Malley said in order to create a connection with their customers, they need to do more than just create an awesome app – as they place a focus on all aspects of the customer experience and ask themselves they can to improve it.
In 2019, we launched an update to our home loan process, with each home loan applicant dealing with the same UBank home loan expert from end to end, ensuring the same level of consistency and connection you’d get with someone at a traditional bank,” he said.
It might sound like a small change, but the impact this has on the customer experience has been really interesting to watch.”