The Current

Thoughts on industry trends from your BVK friends.

Does RTP mean RIP for your bank brand?

November 15, 2018  |  Mike Eaton

Financial Services

Positioning Your Brand in the Wallet of the Future

Mike Eaton, Brand+Lever Senior Vice President

Mass production of automobiles essentially ended large scale demand for buggy whips. Streaming music and video services pounded the nail in the coffin of compact disks and players.

Ten years from now, will we say the same thing about real-time payment (RTP) systems and wallets? It’s a possibility, as consumers increasingly expect to pay for goods and services without handling cash, checks and credit cards.

Venmo, Square and Apple Pay among others introduced the potential of real-time transfers of cash. Seeing the “Tap and Go” trend and sensing their role as the clearinghouse for payments eroding, big U.S. banks collaborated to form Zelle, which as of the spring of 2018 connected about half of the traditional checking accounts in the U.S. with an instantaneous payment application.

Rewards, Risks and Relevance

The benefits of RTP to businesses and consumers are significant (despite the risk of fraud, which is a topic for another time). The hated wait to access your funds should disappear for consumers; and, businesses can reconcile transactions and accounts immediately and in a way that improves cash management. No small benefit, especially for smaller firms where cash flow challenges can spell the difference between profitable growth or potential disaster.

All these innovations and the accelerating pace of both adoption and improvement in security and risk management suggest that the U.S. Federal Reserve’s goal of universal access to real-time payments (RTP) by 2020 can be a reality.

But what about the bank, and, especially, the smaller and mid-sized institutions that are as much being swept along in the rising tide of RTP rather than shaping it at a macro level? Consider the following questions:

Your leadership team should be discussing and developing a point of view and plan of action around these questions – and understanding how your answers impact your brand and business strategies.

Connecting on a Human Value

Research shows that the strongest, best-performing brands in the market are those that are organized around a core human value that is shared by customers. They are brands that are relatable and relevant to something that people crave more of or feel is missing from the market.

Real-time payments are not a brand; but they do address a primal emotion for both individuals and businesses to have control over their money because it gives them certainty and confidence that they can resource their wants and needs.

Understanding that emotional “want” and leveraging the resolution of it through an RTP solution gives banks a chance to connect with individuals and businesses on a relational level. If you can bring value beyond the immediacy of the transaction, you can shift RTP from a “must-have” to be in the consideration set for consumers and businesses to a source of competitive advantage that can be leveraged to move market share.

The linchpin of that advantage may be your ability to capture and extend your brand to any derivative value from the real-time payment functionality. That value might include:

Key Takeaways

To explore these topics in the context of your bank brand and business strategy, please contact Mike Eaton at Michael.Eaton@bvk.com, or Kevin Steltz at Kevin.Steltz@bvk.com.

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