When you think of innovative institutions blazing a trail on the technology scene, you don’t immediately think of banks.
For too long, we’ve had no choice but to endure unintuitive online banking systems, unnecessary trips to actual branches, and probably worst of all, an over-reliance on paperwork.
That’s right, in Australia in 2018, the good old-fashioned fax is still alive and thriving in the banking world.
Brought to you by Xinja, who are building an independent, 100 per cent digital neobank for Australians. Designed for mobile – made for people. Xinja are not a bank yet but they want to be, and they want you to be a part of it.
So with all the tech advances we’ve made as a society in the past 20 years, isn’t it about time this was extended to our finances?
That’s what Xinja is betting on as it builds not just a digital bank, but a ‘neobank’ (think new kind of bank) for Australians.
But given that most of the banks we use today were established well over 100 years ago, how do you actually go about building one from scratch in 2018?
First of all, Xinja wants to make banking more human by, ironically, using technology to personalise its service.
What that requires is a shift in thinking, led by Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer Van Le, to focus on customer behavior rather than simply numbers.
"How we deal with money is very human and personal. When we ask customers what money is for, they say it's to spend on the people they love, to do the things they love, to make an impact," Van says.
"At Xinja we believe it's time for banking to be a service again, one that empowers people to reconnect to what they really want their money to be for. In other words, we believe it's time to bring humanity back to banking.
"Technology has advanced leaps and bounds, but its real potential is only realised when it is packaged in a way that makes it easier for people to do the things they need to do."
This is where artificial intelligence comes in.
By harnessing data, data and more data (with your permission, of course), computer learning will form the backbone of the personalised banking revolution.
Predicting behavioural patterns means Xinja will be able to work out the best things to do with your money, and even accurately detect fraudulent activity.
Think of it as like a fitness app, but for your finances.
While AI is the secret weapon, a series of other developments are coming together at the right time to make a new bank like Xinja possible.
A New Era Of Banking
The era of open banking is upon us in Australia. Customers will soon be able to instantly port their financial data to another bank after the government approved industry recommendations.
Australia will then be in line with the UK, US and much of Europe, where similar changes have brought greater consumer choice, lower fees, and hyper-targeted services for customers, aided by the Internet of Things.
That bit is key to Xinja being able to offer tailored services and better deals to customers. Allowing increased competition like this makes such innovation possible.
Xinja won’t have physical branches, a notable change from what most of us know today, but its completely new systems mean everything you need will be on the app. And it will only get better with time, free from the restrictions of legacy IT systems.
Using, for example, your fingerprint on an app as proof of ID rather than scanning an old utility bill is closer to becoming a reality.
"If we do our job right, people won't notice the technology at all, it will be invisible," Van adds. "What they will notice instead is how much better day to day life is, when you have the experience of a personal banker always available to you in an app, that is also your personal cheerleader for keeping your money where you want it."
The idea is that the more data generated, the more accurate Xinja will be, hopefully resulting in healthier finances all around.
Xinja are not a bank yet but they want to be, and they want you to be a part of it. For now, you can join Xinja’s waitlist for the prepaid card, which comes with free worldwide ATM withdrawals and the app to track spending.