Wednesday 23 October 2019

AIB may switch to subscription model in digital overhaul

State-controlled bank looking 'very closely' at dropping charges regime

'AIB's head of digital channels development, Sean Jevens, said the bank was looking at the elimination of fees in place of a monthly subscription model.' Stock image
'AIB's head of digital channels development, Sean Jevens, said the bank was looking at the elimination of fees in place of a monthly subscription model.' Stock image

Michael Cogley Business Correspondent

AIB is "closely" considering introducing a new subscription model for its online services in a bid to help fend off competition from fintech rivals.

The bank is developing a range of improvements to its digital offering, including changes in person-to-person lending that could allow users to send money using someone's phone number.

AIB's head of digital channels development, Sean Jevens, said the bank was looking at the elimination of fees in place of a monthly subscription model.

"There is a view that banking should be free. People have no problem paying for their cable TV, no problem paying for their utility bills because they see the value of it," he said.

"We've got a particular model and certainly we would be considering a subscription-based model. We will certainly consider it. Whether we roll it out or not is the key decision point that will come in time as the guys close out on their proposed approach."

Jevens said the bank had "under-sold" some of the value it delivers and insisted that developments in its mobile app, voice ID, and other digital innovations "don't come for nothing". He said that "if we were to go with a subscription-based model it would likely be something like what the other banks have offered as well.

"Some of the 'neo-banks' are offering where you get a certain amount for X-amount a month. If you look at Revolut you can go premium and pay €7.99 a month and they throw in travel insurance.

"Again, it's 'to-be-agreed' speculation at this stage. It would likely be something where there is a regular charge and there might be certain things that are extra."

Jevens said the bank was also looking "very closely" at its fee model where customers pay per transaction on credit and debit cards. Jevens said AIB was open to dropping card fees entirely, putting it in line with some prominent fintech companies.

It follows a significant investment in vocal biometrics, by AIB which allows customers to verify their identity by using their voice instead of the traditional steps of answering security questions.

Jevens said that by the end of March next year there will be more than a million customers logging on to the AIB mobile-banking app on a daily basis.

AIB also added Fitbit Pay to its stable of smart payment services last week.

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