What traditional French banks can learn from the Fintechs

While traditional French banks have often been criticized for their latency in digitizing their services, progress has been made in recent years. According to Deloitte, 27% of French people in 2016 no longer went to an agency thanks to digital services.

The development of digital strategies by historical players can partly be explained by the rise of Fintechs – innovative startups in the finance industry – in France. Indeed, financial services are no longer the exclusive preserve of traditional banks and a flurry of new solutions have become available directly on mobile or desktop environments. Fintechs have brought with them their share of innovations and have reintegrated a dynamic of competition in a financial industry frozen for many years.

The New Paradigm of Fintechs

Fintechs have quickly enabled everyone to access financial services in a simple, fast, and efficient way. These innovative applications serve to, among other things, facilitate transactions between individuals or improve access to savings. Other services like SME loan solutions and peer-to-peer exchange platforms for foreign currencies are also included.

It is important to note the gradual disappearance of payment terminals, as startups like Fivory are offering cashless solutions at various locations (e.g. at festivals like Rock en Seine). Technological developments such as blockchain and the advent of cryptocurrencies support a new concept of financial services, which Fintechs are using to disrupt the financial industry.

The success of these innovative companies, aside from providing new solutions, lies in the importance they attach to the user experience. Traditional banks can therefore learn from the digital strategies put in place by Fintechs to improve their own products.

Four Keys to Success

1. Ease of Use

Overall, these applications are quite easy to use. It is easy for users to navigate through the application and perform the action they want without having to search. All processes have been designed under the guise of “simplicity.” This is reflected in the use of the product on a daily basis.

2. Timeliness of the Registration Process

The entire registration process is done at the fingertips and the KYC (Know Your Customers) regulatory identity process is transparent. Using the camera on your smartphone to submit a piece of ID is a real plus and speeds up the process. For example, the Nickel Account registration process only lasts 10 minutes (far shorter than an average process).

3. User-Friendly Design

In general, these applications are aesthetically pleasing. If design is not a determining factor in the choice of a service, it is a great opportunity to improve the user experience and loyalty in the long term.

4. Innovation

Contrary to most traditional banking applications, Fintechs enable users to access services via their smartphones that are either unavailable or more difficult to complete at their respective bank branches. Simplified PEA management or access to loan and savings solutions via a simple application will permanently change the relationship to finance in the French market.

Not all banks have been lagging behind though in terms of innovation. For example, Boursorama, a pioneer in online banking, has gradually implemented features of some Fintechs. It offers sorting functions like Bankin, or the aggregation of external accounts like Max. The mobile application also sets the example for other players, allowing the customer to perform all basic operations, but also some more complex, using a simplified process.

According to Deloitte, “The most popular products – connected insurance and account aggregators – would attract up to 45% of French people”. This should be more than enough to encourage French banks to accelerate their digital transition.

If you want to know how to achieve a seamless user experience, gain speed of development, design user-centric digital products and speed up the delivery of your innovations, you can check out our free banking eBook either on French, English or German.

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Julien Mascaro
Test Engineer
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