The Most Important Innovation for Banks Today

Everyday we use money, its the central blood stream of every economy. Whether you like it or not, money is the universal mechanism for value exchange in all walks of life. Although money has moved into the digital era, its current utility is hampered by one of most simple, but also the most complicated part of the money ecosystem. A problem that if banks refuse to unlock, could spell the end of thousands of banks around the world. You see money is only important in a context that it carries meaning. A US dollar may seem great, but it have zero utility when trekking the jungles of Borneo. While this example may seem a remote connection to the sustainability of the money system, it carries an important principle, value or meaning in context. In today's hyper connected world, unlocking the commerce and economic potential of money means more than just the transaction. In the recent decade companies like Google, Intuit and BrainTree have made huge investments into deepening their understanding prior and post a transaction. Looking to unlock the potential of purpose based transactions. In the cases of Google, understanding such insights strengthens their search and adwords oriented business, that can deliver hyper contextual brand messages. The future for most industries can be unlocked through deeper insights that translate to more meaningful moments, experiences and services.

The banking sector on the other hand has been stuck in the mainframe era, with infrastructure and paradigms that limit the potential of the industry. While there have been dozens of disruptors in the banking and payments industry, none have yet to get to the holy grail. There is a simple, but transformative innovation that will change the course of the industry when its done correctly. And while zero banks have implemented this, they leave the door wide open for a disruptive player to pick up the ball and run for the goal. What is this innovation? Its not digital, mobile or even the cloud. User Experience teams won't be capable of addressing the issue, until something is unlocked first.


As I mentioned in the opening, money only have meaning through context. And of the key inhibitors to unlocking the digital meaning of money lies in the data used to store money. You see since the 1980's very few banks have been able to shed their mainframe cores, limiting the ability of upstream and downstream uses of the information on money. At Moven we saw this opportunity clearly. Its the reason why today Moven's core product focuses on being monetary meaning to every transaction. Insightful, contextual and empower utility of money means the end users is empowered to take control of money through the contextual insights of Moven's feedback loop. Why is this so important? Over the past decade EVERY industry has encountered some form of empowerment disruption. Connecting the consumer to the impact and meaning of their actions.

The mortgage's business has seen the dominance of mortgage choice tools. Tools that could be dramatically enhanced if they had a true history of the customer. Advertising has seen contextual and programmatic rise to dominance in the constant pursuit of meaningful brand message in the right context. So its only logical that the secret to unlocking the potential of contextual, insightful and impactful money services is getting the data to drive the learning algorithms. But today's (yesteryears) core banking platforms and the surrounding processing, switching and integration platforms are bound by the rules that result in meaningless transaction descriptions on your bank statement.

Granted, we understand some transactions. But the key to unlocking the potential is to have the some amount of data on transactions that Google has on search patterns. The incumbent platforms concatenate, truncate and smash in data that has meaning for the bank, not the customer. While if you grab Square's product, they attached Merchant Information, item level details, link the transaction to the merchants Foursquare account, maybe even include photos. Data that will drive the bank of tomorrow.

So banks want to know the single innovation that could change their world forever? The secret lies in enhancing and saturating the core data they have on transactions. Even if they do nothing with that data, the information saturation alone enhances the banks value in the eyes of the consumer, because then they would truly understand the consumer. Opening the door for the transformational innovations like Moven's Spend, Save & Live feedback loop. There are an abundance of open data sources to enhance existing data, all that have deep meaning for the consumer. I'm surprised we haven't seen more attempt what Square is already successful at.

Until that day, banks leave the door wide open for disruptive players to walk into their space and dominate overnight.

The secret lies in the contextual meaning of money to an individual in a particular moment.