KBC Ireland’s mobile banking app is to feature an instant replacement service for lost or stolen cards.
Customers will be able to block their KBC card and apply for and receive an instant digital card replacement via the app.
Sometimes the simplest of ideas are immediate wins for banks seeking to optimise customer experience. Take credit charge back claims, a critical consumer-protection mechanism.
Citi has become the first major US credit card issuer to enable such in-app functionality for card members. Citi credit card customers will have the ability, quickly and easily to dispute pending charges directly within the Citi mobile app. This new feature is also simple, and an extension of the dispute-posted charges functionality that Citi launched in 2016.
It may be simple, but is a perfect example of a major card issuer introducing a new feature that does deserve the claim to improve the customer experience. KBC and Citi are winning friends by demonstrating that the incumbent banks can match or beat the startups and challengers in the innovation race.
Except that in Ireland, KBC is skilfully positioning itself as a challenger. For years, commentators forecast that Belgian based KBC would exit the Irish market and retreat to its Benelux heartlands.
Ireland: core market for KBC
KBC Ireland lost billions through its exposure to the Irish property market following the crisis, but last year announced that its Irish unit was now a core market for the bank. KBC’s mobile app has attracted a lot of attention – and customers.
KBC was the first bank in Ireland to offer new account opening via the app within five minutes. KBC also offered an instant digital card that could be used in advance of customers activating their physical card.
Other KBC Ireland firsts include the launch of Garmin Pay in June. KBC is the only bank in Ireland to offer digital wallets from four of the world’s leading technology companies: Apple Pay, Google Pay, FitBit Pay and Garmin Pay.
In addition to the ability to apply for a replacement which will go into customers’ digital wallets, KBC has rolled out an ‘Instant Credit Card’ whereby customers can apply for, receive a decision on and potentially have a digital credit card within one hour. The virtual card allows debit transactions up to €2,500 and credit transactions up to €10,000.
KBC digital investment pays off
The results of KBC Ireland’s product and digital innovation are impressive. KBC added over 20,000 new customer accounts in the second quarter of 2018, bringing total number of new customer accounts added in the first half of 2018 to over 40,000.
KBC Ireland is now serving almost 300,000 customers in Ireland, with first-half highlights including the number of digital wallet transactions linked to a KBC current account up by 221% year on year. KBC remains on track to hit its target of growing customer numbers to 425,000 by 2020.
An impressive 78% of KBC Ireland customers are regular users of its mobile banking service. That is a figure that many a bank in mature markets around Europe would love to hit. Elsewhere, OCBC is winning friends with another simple but popular feature. OCBC became the first bank in Singapore to enable customers to transact at merchants that accept Apple Pay within minutes of applying for a new Visa credit or debit card. Again, no need to wait for a physical card to arrive in the mail as the digital card can be added to Apple Pay instantly via the OCBC Mobile Banking app.
In the UK, Metro Bank continues to differentiate itself with the offer of instant card issuance of physical cards in-branch. The service ticks the box of offering speed and convenience, and avoids any fear about a card going missing in the post. It also benefits the issuer by positioning the card as top-of wallet. Almost half of the largest US banks now offer instant card issuance, but the idea never really caught on in the UK until Metro Bank came along.
Meeting and exceeding consumer expectations by offering instant access to their accounts, creating a positive customer experience, is key for all banks, incumbent or start-up. The growth of instant digital issuance will not slow down, but there remains a strong argument that more-established banks with branch networks ought to consider instant issuance of physical cards.