By Vinayak Deshmukh | Sep 15, 2022
Imagine holding a credit or debit card in one hand and placing it under a mobile camera. One can start seeing the available balance, the last five transactions, and the amount spent on the card during the last week. It's also possible to see the credit card payment due date and the minimum amount due. Westpac NZ makes it possible with the world’s first banking app for account management using Augmented Reality (AR).
The financial services sector is undergoing massive digital transformation. Emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are creating a new environment for the client experience. According to a PwC survey, 75% of HNI clients under 45 years of age are enthusiastic about technology. Therefore, the demand for creating newer technologies like AR/VR in the financial services industry is even stronger.
Here are the top 4 AR/ VR applications in the financial services industry.
Suppose banking clients are unable to visit a physical bank branch. How about providing them with the option of being able to visit a virtual branch using AR/VR? An Italian bank Widiba has come up with a VR experience called Widiba Home. Clients have to download the Widiba app and wear a VR headset. They can enter a virtual branch, carry out financial transactions and talk with advisors just as they can in any physical branch. They can move around in the branch using their eyes or voice. They can also check their account balances, card statements, portfolios, etc.
Virtual branches like these could be extremely useful for clients in remote areas. Though online banking is advancing, there is still a lack of human touch. An amazing VR experience along with online banking could be the way forward!
Generation Z or zoomers are born into a world of mobile phones, being surrounded by gadgets and brands that innovate continuously. These digital natives crave experiences. Virtual reality allows financial institutions to create never-seen-before experiences by blending the physical and digital worlds.
Take the example of Fidelity Labs which has developed an online program called StockCity. Investors can view their portfolio as a virtual city where each stock is a building. The building rises/ falls according to market price. VR could be useful for investors to better visualize investment decisions.
For traders, the usual way to buy/ sell stocks is by checking financial news via email, chat, or web surfing. Trading involves a lot of dynamic data and constantly updating information. What if banks can enable traders to view, process, and interact with these large amounts of data? A VR headset can show this real-time financial data in a combined 3D and 2D environment. Traders can then call and discuss trading opportunities with their peers. Citi is enabling this with the Holographic Workstation. Technological innovations like these will change the way people trade in the future.
Insurers can significantly improve their service offerings with AR/ VR technologies. Allianz developed a technology in which clients could detect potential home accidents using AR. Clients were given an iPad and told to check different parts of the house with the iPad. At some points, they were shown potential accidents that could occur, for example, smoke coming out of the toaster, an aquarium breaking etc.
AXA Insurance created a marketing tool to target the younger generation using AR. They partnered with Ingress, an AR game and integrated AXA into the game's science fiction story. In just 5 months, nearly 600k people visited AXA's retail agencies in real life.
Examples like these prove that insurance companies can revamp their digital client experience using AR/VR. It is a well-known fact that younger clients would like to engage with more interactive companies. AR/ VR technologies can assist insurance companies in innovatively rebranding themselves for millennials and Generation Z. The improved client engagement can help in upselling insurance products to this tech-savvy cohort.
Imagine two banks trying to acquire a young and wealthy client. One bank shares a PDF or shows the bank website containing various services they offer. The other bank helps the client to view their services by wearing a VR headset. Which bank has the higher probability of acquiring this client? Most probably, the second bank, assuming other parameters such as customer service is the same for both banks.
Millennials and Gen-Z are a generation that has grown up with technology. They view systems and processes differently than the previous generations. They value digital services and experiences. Banks courting this tech-immersed generation will have to revamp their digital strategy in order to gain a share of their wallets.
As mobile phones are commonly available today, one can download AR apps and experience the new world. AR/VR applications are still not mainstream but there's no denying the fact that AR/VR has started to have an impact on the financial services sector. With the advancement of technology, financial institutions should examine their procedures to identify areas of immersive experiences. This will enable them to be ready for their young and wealthy clients.