5 Ways Edge Computing Can Benefit Banks

One of my favorite sayings is, “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” Can the same be said of banks who don’t use edge computing? Not exactly.

First, let’s take a look of what edge computing is as it relates to the financial services sector. Edge computing refers to when data processing and storage occurs closer to the person or item creating the data. It is an alternative to cloud processing, in which data is processed at a data center that could be located thousands of miles from the source.

The classic edge computing illustration is an autonomous vehicle. The AI that the driverless car uses has to process a lot of data very quickly in order to be a successful (and safe) driver. Taking too long to decipher between a tree and a person could mean life or death, so being able to process that data as close to the vehicle as possible is key.

Edge computing sounds fancy and has obvious benefits across the technology landscape, but what can it do for banks?

Increase security

Because edge computing eliminates the need to send consumers’ personal information into the public cloud, the security risks inherent to the process of moving data are eliminated. The closer the data stays to its source, the fewer the places cyberattackers can penetrate.

Lower latency

With edge computing, data is able to be processed much faster since it does not have to travel to and from a data center. This increased speed can be beneficial when businesses must make decisions in near-real time.

Boost the use of the Internet of Things (IoT)

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Banks are increasingly relying on IoT to interface with their customers. Bank apps, ATMs, kiosks, and technologies such as HSBC’s Pepper all require increased data processing capability. Edge computing opens up possibilities for more IoT options with fewer data limits.

Increased innovation

When security is less of a concern, speed is no longer an issue, and a bank has more options for IoT implementation, innovation is able to flow more freely. This, combined with edge computing’s potential cost benefits, can help banks implement new solutions that otherwise may have been on the back burner.

Lower cost

When there is no need for a data center, costs associated with the data center itself, as well as the costs of sending data back-and-forth to data centers or the cloud are diminished.

6 Banks Making Saving as Easy as Spending

Automatic saving tools have been around since the dawn of the new millennium. You’re probably familiar with how they work; the tools allow users to contribute to savings goals on a regular basis using microtransfers. Some take a randomized approach to the contributions, transfering under $10 a few times a week from a user’s checking account to their savings account. Other tools round up the amount of everyday purchases and contribute the “spare change” to a savings account.

Though Bank of America’s autosave tool has been available since 2005, it wasn’t until the launch of investing app Acorns in 2012 that the industry picked up on the possibility of success for autosave and payment round-up tools.

Banks were quick to notice not only the positive consumer response to such tools but also the potential for more consumer deposits and increased debit card usage. While many banks offer a straightforward version of autosave, a handful offer more robust features, such as purchase round-ups, to entice users to keep a few more bucks in the bank. Below are autosave programs from six banks.

USAA’s Tracker

Tracker from USAA tries to make saving a bit more approachable with the use of a German Shepherd. The tool does not implement purchase round-ups, however. Instead Tracker randomly withdraws small amounts ranging from $2 to $9 from a user’s checking account one to four times per week. To keep the user involved, Tracker texts the user every day to inform them of their checking account balance.

Bank of America’s Keep the Change

Bank of America was well ahead of its time when it launched Keep the Change in 2005. The savings program rounds up consumers’ purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the extra change into a separate savings account.

The tool is still available and is relatively unchanged today.

KeyBank’s EasyUp

KeyBank’s savings tool, EasyUp, is tied to a user’s debit card and works by automatically transfering $1 to a specified savings account every time a user makes a purchase. While customers can use the savings balance any way they choose, KeyBank specifically highlights using EasyUp to pay down debt faster.

Chime’s Automatic Savings

Chime, a U.S. challenger bank that was founded in 2013, uses the round-up concept to help users save money every time they make a purchase. In conjunction with this way to save, the bank also allows users to automatically transfer a percentage of each paycheck into their savings account. While this isn’t a new concept, Chime has built a user experience around the transfer capability and sends push notifications regarding savings progress to make it more accessible for users.

Qapital’s Rules

Qapital uses the concept of If This, Then That (IFTTT) to help users set up a structure around their savings transfers. The tool leverages behavioral economics to get users to save when certain actions are triggered. For example, accountholders can have Qapital set a small amount of money aside each time they visit the gym, every time it rains, or each time Donald Trump tweets.

Simple’s Round-Up Rules

Simple’s saving program, Round-up Rules, works similarly to Bank of America’s Keep the Change tool by depositing the “spare change” from each of a customer’s purchases into a separate savings account. The one difference with Simple’s savings tool, however, is that it waits until the spare change adds up to or exceeds $5 before transfering the cash into the savings account.

Influencers as Innovation: Fintechs Turn to the Famous in Bid to Boost Visibility

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Expensify’s 2019 Super Bowl advertisement – Expensify Th!$ – featuring Adam Scott and rap star 2Chainz – was not the first time a fintech leveraged the shine from pop culture to illuminate itself.

But as Snoop Dogg celebrates his first anniversary as a high-profile Klarna shareholder and RDC announces that it has hired a network of social media influencers to help promote its new digital banking app, it’s clear that firms are all-in when it comes to using celebrity to showcase everything fintech – from expense management to pay-later ecommerce solutions. Alec Baldwin, who has become one of pop culture’s more potent pitchmen, was recently enlisted by eToro to help boost its CopyTrader marketing campaign.

The financial world has been as much a fan of celebrity as a customer engagement tool as any other industry with brands to build. Today, Mastercard announced that it was working with Swedish singer Nadine Randle to produce a song that “integrates the payment giant’s ‘sonic brand.” The company’s ‘sonic brand’ identity itself is the fruit of a partnership between Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda, who developed the score last year.

And from the local sports hero to the homecoming veteran, credit unions and community banks have long leveraged the willingness of regional-minded stars and celebrities to “give back” to the communities and neighborhoods they grew up in.

But as fintechs increasingly partner with and compete with these and other financial institutions – and take advantage of new forms of celebrity such as social media influencers – they are increasingly taking a page from the FI marketing playbooks when it comes to using star power to shine a light on the work they do.

Expensify CEO and founder David Barrett highlighted the way his company’s technology would make it easier for talents like 2Chainz to “make the most epic music video ever” in his Expensify Th!$ ad. But he also told Fast Company at the time that even though Expensify had the “strongest brand” in the expense management game, and was the fastest-growing such firm with the biggest customer base, “virtually nobody in the world knows who we are.”

The celebrity approach to marketing is not without its detractors. In a post at Medium.com last year, Millennium Management COO Ajay Nagpal noted data from the 2018 Sprout Social Index that suggested that consumers are more likely to buy a product or service recommended by a friend than a celebrity. Moreover, Nagpal raised an interesting question as to whether or not the star endorsement of a brand in fashion, for example, would have the same impact as the same star’s endorsement of a brand in wealth management or tax planning.

Perhaps it depends on the star. Last fall, Finovate audiences were treated to a surprise appearance from noted Canadian investor and star of the reality show Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary, who provided an on-stage, end-of-demo endorsement of Bambu’s Beanstox investing solution. And it’s a good bet that “Mr. Wonderful” is likely to be a more powerful advocate for white- label, B2B robo advisory technology than he might be for, say, leggings …

Additionally, as Director of Brand Strategy at Weber Marketing Group John Mathes wrote for The Financial Brand, even the best celebrity branding works better over time rather than as a one-off. Calling the practice “borrowed interest,” Mathes warned that while carefully targeted star power can produce positive results “brand building is usually a slow process. It takes time. It’s not a single campaign or gimmick.”

The impact of celebrity and influencers on the visibility of and engagement with fintech remains to be seen. But maybe more to the point, the fact that a growing number of fintechs are adopting the same approach to brand-boosting as their peers and rivals in the rest of the financial world may be a positive sign for the fintech industry in and of itself.