Delivering simplicity is a complex proposition when security is at stake

Reinventing good old-fashioned customer service

Few people would venture that “legacy banks” are bad at customer service, or that so-called “challenger banks” always succeed in delighting the customer. It seems fair to say, however, that the mobile-first banks have hit the right tone in providing simple, straightforward banking services that echo experiences consumers enjoy of e-commerce or social media sites and apps. “Imitation,” as they say, “is the sincerest form of flattery,” and, yes, the incumbents are looking at what the challengers are doing and racing to provide the same sorts of experiences.

Older banks, on the other hand, have something the new kids on the block don’t, at least to the same extent: trust. Early adopters are less risk-averse than most people, a trait that often complicates growth forecasts for emerging technologies. The challenger banks do not, by definition, have long-established brands and reputations for prudence and reliability, but that hasn’t worried their millions of new customers, Millennials and Gen-Zs especially.

Is the lure simply good design? To a point. Some years ago, the industry was talking a lot about “gamification”. It didn’t translate into much from the consumer’s point of view, but it set the ball rolling. The challenger banks, mostly in the retail banking space, prioritised good design as they set about innovating service provision, but what they achieved is not all skin deep. They’ve worked hard on crafting richer digital experiences that keep people coming back for more.

Some say it was easier for the mobile-first banks to start from scratch than to reinvent a centuries-old business model for the digital age. Perhaps that’s true, but I nevertheless believe established financial institutions ought to focus less on what they have in place now and what they can and can’t do with it and instead fix their imaginations on the ideal customer experience and work their way back from there.

Strong customer authentication complicates the equation

I’m not saying it’s easy, of course. Designing seamless interactions while maintaining the strictest security standards remains a daunting task, requiring a truly customer-centric approach to technology. Look at the SS7 multi-factor bypass attack at Metro Bank. Strong customer authentication (SCA) is increasingly non-negotiable, but end-users are rightly frustrated when it’s neither convenient nor adequately secure.

If it’s not done right, SCA can easily impact negatively on usability. If we are talking about authentication, we consider two things: trust and friction. It has long been assumed that trust necessarily involves friction – and that the greater the need for security, the more the user has to be slowed down. But a well-designed authentication solution will very rarely throw up any hurdles to genuine bank customers, and will, in the rare cases it does, be suitably matched to the sensitivity of the action they’re engaging in.

Under PSD2, all bank transfers and electronic payments will need to follow SCA requirements, including multifactor authentication. Good design is essential to ensure customer experience remains positive.

In our work with CREALOGIX we support banks and wealth managers in implementing better authentication workflows for their customers. At all stages we remain focused on the ideal customer experience. Increasingly prescriptive regulation is no excuse for confusing customers, who don’t know or care about things like PSD2 or SCA. When designing for consumers, the complexity must be hidden away so that ordinary people can gain the benefits of cutting-edge security without being obstructed from getting their daily tasks done.

During 2019 and 2020 we are going to see an enormous amount of change across UK and European payments. Inside the industry we tend to focus on regulatory and technical change, but ultimately this is going to create changes in how all customers perform payments and confirmations. Established banks and payment providers with large user bases need to be mindful about helping the full spectrum of customers understand and remain confident in the face of new authentication processes. Succeeding in this area doesn’t have to be the sole preserve of challengers and early adopter startups. The forward-looking financial institutions we and CREALOGIX serve continue to prove that digitalisation is not just about efficiency – it’s about building value through improving their customers’ experience.

About Simon Rodway

Simon Rodway is a software solutions architect and developer with a background in the retail and financial services sectors. As pre-sales solution consultant at Entersekt, he is tasked with supporting the fintech’s European team in business development across the region. His extensive experience in information technology and software development at companies like IBM and S1 Worldwide, where he has worked across product development, service delivery and marketing, ensures he can advise enterprises from a place of deep knowledge, foster efficient working relations and deliver significant value.

About Entersekt

Entersekt is an innovator of mobile-first fintech solutions. Financial services providers and other enterprises rely on its patented mobile identity system to provide both security and the best in convenient new digital experiences to their customers, irrespective of the service channel. Whether pursuing compliance through strong authentication and state-of-the-art app security or looking to meet consumer demand for on-the-go information sharing and payment capabilities, Entersekt’s clients always enjoy a competitive advantage. For more information, visit

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