The year 2017 saw a significant increase in banks’ interest in lifestyle services. In the months to come this trend will accelerate sharply and the users will more eagerly make use of their mobile banking not only to check their balance, but also purchase bus or concert tickets and order a taxi.
We can envy Hungarians their spicy cuisine or Budapest, which is immensely popular with tourists. But this is not all. While in Hungary, you can pay by phone for a motorway pass (whereas in Poland cash or plastic is required). Such a functionality—apart from ordering food or buying a cinema ticket—is offered by one of OTP Bank companies, the biggest commercial bank in Hungary.
A similar solution is offered by the Dutch Rabobank, which enables mobile payments for petrol in the On The Go application.
Marriage of convenience
Banks’ entering into cooperation with m–commerce service providers is already a reality. As a result of such an alliance, a financial institution usually associated with the dull financial sphere receives a new and surprising opportunity to engage the users—by offering useful services. The other side of the deal, e.g. an e–book store or a cinema chain, receives access to a multimillion database of new consumers—the bank’s customers. At the end of the day, both parties divide the profits they have generated together.
The best Polish example of such cooperation is the mobile application of BZ WBK, the third biggest bank on the market. In 2017 there was a 70% year-on-year increase in the total value of transactions related to lifestyle services within the bank’s application.
What functionalities will we find in the BZ WBK application? Among others are buying bus and car park tickets. The list of cities includes over 200 locations, such as Poznań and Gdańsk. The most rapid increase in popularity has been observed in the case of purchasing tickets for cultural events, which is, by the way, one of the most recent implementations on the platform. Other services include ordering and paying for taxis, booking hotels or supporting the needy.
The success of the bank translates to the growing interest in the m-commerce potential and new investments in mobile, not only in Polish but also foreign institutions. This trend is demonstrated by subsequent implementations the industry is investing in. In recent months the Millennium Bank mobile application has enabled city bus ticket purchases without leaving the app.
The growing popularity of “at-hand” financial services is best shown by the data from research institutes. According to the report “Digital payments 2017” commissioned by “Chamber of Digital Economy”, financial and transactional mobile products, i.e. all kinds of smartphone applications which enable Poles to use financial services, are installed on the devices of 29% of respondents. By comparison, in 2016 the same applied to only 20% of respondents.
However, any rising indications required a vast amount of educational work and therefore a considerable investment by market pioneers. The first, groundbreaking implementation of a product, linking product suppliers with a financial institution took place in 2014. It was also at that time that an authorial project of one of the leading Polish fintechs—Finanteq—became part of BZ WBK’s app.
—In 2014 we launched an innovative product on a global scale—says Andrzej Sierpiński, Managing Director at FINANTEQ.—Since then the lion’s share of our work is educating the market and, in the first place, testing various hypotheses. Today we can see that the market is increasingly keen to head in this direction—adds Sierpiński.
From the user’s point of view, making a payment without having to input personal, contact or any other necessary data for every single service is a real asset. Everything happens directly in the banking application at one click.
The phone is the mainspring of commerce
The domestic market observes some movement towards abandoning outdated forms of paying for services. As of the year 2018 you no longer can buy the ticket direct from the driver on Warsaw public transport. Indeed, the majority of buses and trams have inbuilt ticket machines, but our phones remain a convenient alternative. Another example of facilitation is payment for a taxi, especially when visiting a given city for the first time. Instead of searching different offers for an attractive fare, everything is at hand in one banking application that we are perfectly familiar with.
All of the data—from the payment to the address of delivery is already there, safe and ready to be sent to the service owner.
Hence, never before have we had such a clear situation where headlines of top internet news services (and these are of January 2018) have sounded so probable: “M-commerce technologies in the most profitable lines of business”, “Mobile trade to drive this year’s growth” or “By 2021 credit cards will be overshadowed by digital wallets in e-commerce”. It is also worth mentioning the figures from the British market. It has been announced that the total worth of transactions on the mobile market will have exceeded €250 billion annually by 2020 (in 2017 this sum approximated to €40 billion per year).
Convenience. This is why every service available here and now is becoming increasingly popular. Dynamic growths show that m-commerce services are no longer marginal and mobile banking expanded by functionalities of this type is gaining popularity.