Tuesday 11 December 2018

How KBC are using technology to bring 'game-changing' digital account to the Irish market

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

KBC are embracing innovative technology and partnering with skilled fintechs in order to compete in the financial services landscape in Ireland.

Head of Current Accounts Petrina Grady demonstrated their “game-changing” digital account opening experience on the TechX stage of the Dublin Tech Summit.

With Innovation Delivery Manager Ryan Leitch, Petrina spoke about how there is a gap between a digital service that is easy to use and one that accomplishes little in the ‘Building digital services that transform customer experience’ presentation.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Petrina said that, as a challenger brand, KBC are always looking at what the customer are expecting - “and they're demanding more than ever before”.

“With our mobile onboarding app, a customer is able to open an account and get an instant digital debit card in less than five minutes. Not only can they open their account but they can use it immediately,” she said.

Part of the difficulty faced in ease of online account opening is adhering to money laundering regulations but KBC are aiming to make it much simpler for the customer.

“The customers take a picture of their drivers' licence and they take a selfie. We're using APIs to do a check to make sure the licence is authentic – and then we use biometrics to check that the person in the selfie is you. So you don't have to send us in your bill or anything, that's all the boxes ticked.

“The bit that's really different for us is that you then instantly get your digital debit card into your wallet, and can put it into your Google Pay or your Apple Pay straight away. We put a fiver into the account for you so it means you can actually make a purchase from your account immediately too."

KBC are using a push provisioning API so where normally card information would have come in through a daily batch file - which was adequate when the card was being sent out in the post – now there's an instant provisioning of the product.

“And there isn't anyone else doing that, so it's game changing,” Petrina said.

“We're in a very collaborative space, you have to partner with other fintechs out there. If you try to do it on your own it would take too long, you'd be left behind, you'd have missed the boat.

“Fintechs have the expertise in all that ML verification bit so we all came together to come up with the best solution.”

Petrina said “inertia” is a massive problem as customers don't really want to change their current accounts as it's too much of a hassle, involves a lot of documentation and takes forever.

“We knew we couldn't just tweak the journey here and there if we wanted to be competitive, we had to knock the whole journey on its head.”

In March this year, KBC Bank announced reductions in its two, three and five-year fixed rates and it is decreasing its loan-to-value (LTV) variable rates.

The move came days after Ulster Bank cut a range of fixed rates, and presents a challenge to the big players, Bank of Ireland and AIB.

The KBC reductions - which took effect from April 3 - apply to new and existing customers and mean the bank will have some of the lowest mortgage rates in the market.

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