The pandemic has thrown traditional technology implementation cycles out the window for many financial institutions as consumers turn to their digital devices to do all their banking. In the PYMNTS e-book, “Endemic Economics: 32 Payments Execs on the ‘Next Normal’ That Never Happened,” NCR President and CEO Doug Brown says many leaders have found a silver lining – realizing they can act faster than they previously thought and still achieve success.
Digital adoption has grown exponentially year on year. But no one was prepared for the acceleration caused by the pandemic. As consumers across industries fled to their digital devices to bank, shop or order food, businesses scrambled to serve their customers, accelerating innovation and technology adoption. at a rate never imaginable before. Restaurants had to find new ways to take orders from customers. Grocery stores and retail stores have had to beef up online ordering and staff to fulfill orders quickly. And financial institutions have had to implement remote customer service models and improve their digital offerings to give consumers the access they need to manage their finances.
For many financial institutions, this pace of change was particularly challenging. Traditional technology implementation cycles have been thrown out the window. Tech teams found themselves trying to implement new technologies from their respective kitchen tables and makeshift desks. And just as quickly as new technologies were implemented, customer support teams had to teach themselves the technology and how best to support it by phone, video, text or chat. For many banks and credit unions, this rapid acceleration has disrupted the way they have traditionally assessed and implemented new technologies.
The take away key? Many executives now realize that they can go faster than they thought and be successful.
The rise of new technologies
Over the past few years, we have also seen a sea change in the way consumers purchase goods. According to Forbes, adoption of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) increased by 30% between 2019 and 2021 among Gen Z consumers. Much of this adoption is occurring among Gen Z and Millennials, but they are also the generations that traditional banks and credit unions often struggle to attract. As the BNPL continues to gain traction, it will put a strain on financial institutions as consumers’ relationship with credit changes. The simplicity of BNPL is a key driver of adoption, so credit companies and traditional financial institutions will need to get creative to continue attracting new customers. The days of flashy cashback rewards or points programs can be a thing of the past.
And of all the technology accelerations, crypto is perhaps the fastest growing – buying, selling, holding capabilities in particular. Its adoption is happening at an unprecedented rate. Just as every industry had to learn on the fly and adapt at a breakneck pace during the pandemic, the same must happen now for crypto. Whether it’s a retailer that can use crypto as a form of payment, or a financial institution that offers the ability to buy, sell, hold, and beyond, businesses that are early adopters of crypto and offer seamless interaction will be the big winners. While it may be too early to consider crypto as the future of money, it’s not going away. And it will continue to become more common every day.