Mark Cameron Columnist

Mark is CEO and head strategist at Working Three, a strategic digital consultancy that specialises in commercialising social media activity. He works with some of Australia's, and the world's, largest and most innovative companies to create a clear picture of the new market forces, and business model disruption, being driven by social media.

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Banking on social media

Published 17 October 2012 05:54, Updated 21 November 2012 08:44

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Banking on social media

The owners of Movenbank see the adoption of mobile payment systems and technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC) as an opportunity to change the way banking is done.

Social media is changing the way retail banks deal with customers. Some high-profile successes and failures in recent years illustrate the point that social media engagement has become “mission critical”, now that more than 55 per cent of the population is on Facebook in Australia and there are more than 1 billion users worldwide.

The big Australian banks are getting better at using social media in their marketing mix. Most of the effort is focused on reactive reputation management. That’s an important capability to develop. But it is not enough any longer. If the technology trends in the United States are anything to go by, new social media developments are about to disrupt the retail banking sector. A start-up in the US is leading the charge. It’s challenging the status quo and bringing an element of “cool” into retail banking. This company is Movenbank (pronounced Move ‘n’ bank) and it is aiming at “digital natives”, the generation that has grown up online.

From the moment you land on movenbank.com, you know this company thinks differently. The tagline on the site is “Movenbank – spend, save, and live smarter!” Even signing up to the bank by connecting your Facebook and other social media accounts is quick and interesting. Towards the end of the sign-up process you are given a “cred score”. It’s a transparent assessment of your “credibility score” (not a credit rating) which measures and lets you know in real time your “financial fitness” and rewards you for spending, saving and living smarter. It draws on a wide range of data, including your social media influence as well as answers to some finance focused questions. In other words, Movenbank is deploying “big data” to shape its engagement model.

The bank has a mantra of “no paper, no plastic, no hidden fees”. It means it is placing mobile banking at the centre of its customer experience. Movenbank is developing a future where the bricks and mortar model of banking is a thing of the past.

This model will soon be rolled out in Australia, probably by one of the big banks (which have been early adopters of online and mobile banking) but possibly by a new entrant to the market. The time seems right. “Digital natives” are now decision makers and business owners, and the idea of ‘digital and new’ is capturing the market’s imagination.

Mark Cameron is speaking as a board member for digital industry association AIMIA at the 2012 Digital Summit on November 23.

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