The Bold War

If This, Then That...

Have you IFTTT’d lately? Well, if you haven’t, you will be soon.  You can forget about SnapChat and Pocket.  They were so 3 months ago.  If you’re not familiar with the app, IFTTT is a service that allows users to create a series of commands that get invoked when a predefined rule is met.  Think of it is a virtual ‘If this alarm clock rings, then hit the sleep button’.  Hence the name IFTTT.  It stands for IF This Then That.

In the fluffy and bubbly land of IFTTT there is no excuse for procrastination or forgetfulness.  Through a combination of ‘recipes, triggers and actions’ you can create a ying for every yang.  IFTTT has taken off so much over the last few months that its users have already created more than 2.5 million recipes (a much tastier way of describing a command and action).

So who cares right? What has this got to do with banking?  Well…everything.  The way I see it, IFTTT is the closest thing to the future of banking that I have seen yet.  You see the future of banking is not banking at all.  People don’t want to bank.  They only do it because they have to.  The beauty of IFTTT is that it takes away the work of doing monotonous and repetitive tasks, of which banking has many. Can you imagine the possibilities if IFTTT was applied to banking? 

At its most basic, customers could set up some simple commands like, ‘If I have more than £3000 in my Current Account by the end of the month, transfer £1000 to my Savings Account’.  Want to get a bit more sophisticated? Try ‘If I purchase flights to Portugal, set a travel flag on my credit card’.  In the long term it could become all encompassing.  Banks could deliver a proactive service that does the banking on behalf of the customer. 

So what will drive this trend?  The continued adoption of Mobile banking will.  The ability to communicate and receive communications instantly, through an increasingly large set of Mobile banking customers means that an action can be recommended and acted upon in real time.  Without the ability to advise customers that an action has taken place, or give customers the option to opt out instantly, the proposition would break down. 

The success of IFTTT could be a watershed moment for banking.  It could open the eyes of the industry to the opportunity to do rather than to wait.  With new technology, innovation and competition hitting the industry from different angles, it’s time to get creative.  The future strategy of the industry has to be to take the banking out of banking.  If this happens, then the relevancy of banking is assured.

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