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Don’t be so blasé about people loving fintech

Chris Skinner: If you build it, they will come. Or will they?

Latest "UNconventional Wisdom": Fintech expert Chris Skinner warns that the U.K. experience indicates fintech remains an upward sell. Latest "UNconventional Wisdom": Fintech expert Chris Skinner warns that the U.K. experience indicates fintech remains an upward sell.

I find it interesting, as we move towards Open Banking and Open APIs through regulations at both the U.K. and E.U. levels: The push is for data sharing with trusted third parties with user consent.

All well and good, you would think.

But several surveys point to it not being quite so rosy.

The typical report cites consumer lack of trust as the issue, and that they wouldn’t feel secure having their data used by any third parties, even ones the banks trust. This was documented in The Telegraph where some discussions of their recent future of fintech conference is covered. (I chaired the session on Open Banking.) 

Psst … you’re already doing it, folks

According to the newspaper, two-thirds of consumers in the U.K. say they won’t share their financial data with a third party, and more than half (53%) say they would never change how they bank.

This is a fairly Luddite view, and reminds me of people who say they would never use mobile payments but are happy to have Apple in-app and iTune purchases run away on their phone, or paying by credit card for their Uber rides.

These are mobile payments, but you just don’t see it this way.

Similarly, consumers will enjoy the ease of use of Open APIs to live their lives without cash and coins. They just won’t realize that they’re using Open APIs when their Facebook marketplace purchase is checked out with a swipe or their online donation to charity is made through Stripe.

The thing of it is …

However, there is a serious point to this, which is that (some) consumers are really nervous about money and wouldn’t enjoy their bank exposing them to risk. This is why some don’t even use online banking, let alone mobile banking.

For example, according to a recent report, in the U.K., Lloyds, Barclays, and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have around 8 million, 5.7 million, and 4.2 million mobile banking customers each, respectively. 

However, between them, they serve almost 80 million accounts and so 18 million mobile banking customers is around 25% of the customer base.

This means that 75% of U.K. consumers still don’t trust mobile banking, even though it’s been around over five years. The first mobile banking app was launched by Barclays in 2012.

Even more notably, a third of UK bank customers don’t even use online banking today.


Face it: Tech folks love this more than others

What I often feel is that the technologists believe far more in banking technologies than the users. Yes, there is a large crowd of people who like the fintech start-ups such as TransferWise, Atom, and Monzo.

But there are a far larger crowd of people who don’t, and it’ll take time to educate them to change before they do.

This is why it is imperative for financial pundits to show people the benefits and incentives for switching to new technologies and trusted third parties, rather than just sitting and waiting.

Rolling out new apps is all well and good. But if the majority of customers miss the point, then things will stay the same.

This blog is taken with permission from The Finanser, Chris Skinner’s blog.

Chris Skinner

Chris Skinner has become known as an international independent commentator on fintech through his blog, the He is the author of the bestselling book Digital Bank and its sequel ValueWeb. Both books have been reviewed on and a chapter excerpt of ValueWeb also appears on the site. Skinner chairs the European networking forum: the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand and has received similar honors from The Wall Street Journal and other organizations. Visit Skinner's professional website.

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