Lloyds Bank will send its mobile banking customers offers direct to their smartwatches, in the latest example of traditional banks investing in modern digital technology to meet consumer demand.
The bank has a service that gives some money back to customers when they spend using their Lloyds cards, known as Everyday Offers. Customers that are eligible for cashback will now be notified on their smartphone or smartwatch, if it is linked to the mobile banking account. About 1.5 million customers have downloaded the app.
Its inclusion of smartwatches for the service epitomises how mobile technology is changing banks. Although only a small add-on, in terms of IT investments it displays how traditional banks are changing.
While back-end legacy systems creak on, the customer-facing bank is transforming in reaction to consumer demand.
Lloyds Bank director of digital Adrian Bryant said the bank is constantly thinking of new ways for customers to interact with it more efficiently.
“The new push notifications will make it more convenient for customers to get the latest updates on their Lloyds Bank Everyday Offers rewards,” he said.
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Traditional banks are under pressure from new banks and technology firms threatening to take business from them. They cannot afford to ignore technology trends such as the introduction of wearable devices.
Forrester Research principal advisor Marc Dowd recently told an audience of CIOs at a CW500 Club event that people are redefining their relationships with companies, with each other and the government, based around technology.
Dowd added that people today have a changed mindset and expect services on their smartphones.
“People want any piece of information when they need it, no matter where they are. When business and governments don‘t provide this they are seen as doing something wrong,” he said.
To grow, businesses need to expand relationships with customers. Dowd said that technology can contribute to this but must stay relevant.
Mobile services and wearable devices are good examples of using technology to develop closer relationships with customers, he said, but as soon as they are not deemed useful they are dropped.
Wearable technology in banking
Nationwide customers are now able to check their bank balance on smartwatches if they have already downloaded the building society’s mobile banking app.
The firm partnered with IBM to develop a system to allow Android Wear users to perform banking tasks on their wearables. The smartwatch will connect to the mobile banking app to provide users with real-time updates of their balance.
Meanwhile, Spanish bank CaixaBank released contactless wristbands following a pilot of the wearable technology with selected customers.
The bank is using Gemalto’s Optelio Contactless MiniTag and from October 2015 the wristbands will be available from all CaixaBank branches. The contactless transactions can be performed at more than 300,000 payment terminals across Spain.