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Benefits war: how banks and fintech compete to win more customers in Argentina

Benefits war: how banks and fintech compete to win more customers in Argentina
While traditional banking relies on rewards programs, apps encourage value-added products. The keys to understand this new reality
11.02.2019 14.55hs Mundo Fintech

The Argentine banking sector is in a moment of transition, in which leaving behind traditional models and aggiornarse to the new digital economy forces it to put the focus on various aspects.

The need to offer new services that simplify and streamline processes that take decades of implementation, without neglecting their customers, is one of the most immediate objectives.

Undoubtedly, in order to implement these changes they must exercise an "evangelizing" task. It happens that in Argentina the unbanked population reaches 52%, according to a survey conducted by the University of Palermo (UP) and the Voices consultancy.

Of the 48% who are clients of an entity, 70% do not have financial services, according to the actors of the sector. This means that these individuals can count on a savings or debit card, but only to receive the payment of their salaries and withdraw that money immediately, not using any other service.

The banks speak to these sub-bank customers today. For this, there are different mechanisms. On the one hand, there are the benefits and loyalty programs. On the other, the offer of digital services of easy access and simplicity of use, as do the fintechs.

Among the loyalty programs, one of the most recognized is Quiero !, by Banco Galicia. It allows the customer to accumulate points through purchases made with the bank's cards. These can be exchanged for a series of benefits, both products and services.

Despite its success, the entity does not rest on its laurels. "Many years ago, at Banco Galicia, we followed the strategy of 'being the best universal bank' in Argentina, providing our clients with a differentiating experience," they say from the company to iProUP.

"That is why we are constantly improving our interactions with them, both for the more complex operations, which require specialized advice, and for the usual transactions, in which the clients look for speed and simplicity, in which direction a large part of our focus is directed. and investments ", ratify.

It is mainly here where they are put in tune with the advance of the digital economy, facing a transformation that goes in that way.

"The change in customer habits and the presence of new competitors forces us to be more agile in our responses to customers, and forces us to be more accessible and generate personalized and relevant value propositions through the intelligent use of data. These are the pillars of a strategy to compete in a future that is already present ", they highlight in Galicia.

For this, the entity works to accelerate the product development cycles and deliver value more quickly to the client. For this reason, they are working with cloud technology and taking advantage of Artificial Intelligence, in topics related to computer security, experience or business matters.

Among the most innovative solutions is Gala, the chatbot that in last December resolved 75,000 customer inquiries, or MOVE, which was born as a branchless bank for the young university segment that already competes with the new digital banks and owns more than 120,000 users, mostly millennials.

For its part, its loyalty system is also very important in ICBC: the ICBC Club benefits program was recently unified with ICBC Store, its exclusive ecommerce portal for customers.

In this way, in a single portal you can make the purchase of products and exchange points among more than 20,000 items available from the best brands, first class official stores, airlines and travel agencies.

With some differences, the benefits are replicated from bank to bank, but many of them recently added a key attraction. It involves the inclusion of the accumulation of miles through them.

In this sense, Aerolineas Argentinas relaunched its AR Plus plan, replacing the exclusivity agreement it had with Banco Galicia, to also join the Banco Macro, Hipotecario, Nación, Provincia and Credicoop cards.

This type of AR Plus exclusive multi-bank agreements makes it possible for the accumulated miles to be used in the airlines belonging to the Sky Team alliance, which offers up to 1,000 destinations around the world.

The other that did not fall behind is Latam, which joined BBVA Banco Francés to add the points of its loyalty program that promises greater benefits in airfare.

It´s not everything about points
While benefit programs seem to be aimed at building loyalty to already recruited clients, there are several services that clearly aim not only to modernize traditional banking, but also to attract unbanked users through more technological proposals.

In this way, banks are in tune with the growth of the fintech universe and the diversity of financial services that are beginning to be part of a single ecosystem and where those who stay behind lose.

According to the Appbrain online market, the total of financial applications in Google Store is 64,309, a number that increased in the last year after the growth of startups in the world of finance that appeared to replace traditional banking functions in a digital environment.

This is one of the great crossroads that banks face, since it is assumed that by the end of this decade and due to the decrease in branch activity, these entities will have to achieve at least half of their income generate through digital channels to remain profitable.

In this way, Itaú is with his new web platform "Abrí tu cuenta". It is a solution implemented at a regional level that allows the opening of an account in a 100% digital form from any mobile device in five minutes.

With the aim of becoming the leading digital bank in Latin America, the new platform allows you to open an account in a few steps. Simply complete personal information, upload a selfie and the photo of the DNI. Then, the entity proposes up to four sets of products that are offered according to the profile of each client.

"This solution is a key pillar in the digital transformation of the bank, offering the possibility of becoming a Itaú customer in a simple, agile, secure and paperless way, in a 100% digitaliProUP process.

For its part, Banco Nación is in the process of expanding through the installation of different Business Units with the aim of increasing geographic coverage to capture new revenues, promote financial development, facilitate access to the sectors that today they resort to traditional branches, and increase the institutional presence in urban centers, with dependencies where technological aspects predominate over traditional banking.

In this way, new technologies occupy a central position to serve customers with the expectation of having automated services.

The fintech do not shrink
The measurement radar of Finnovista and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) indicated in its latest edition that in Argentina there are around 72 startups of digital financial developments.

As in the region, the list for utilization for Payments and Transfers (33%) is led by loans (16%) and then by Business Finance Management (15%).

Focused on customers and the diversity of aspects of the financial business, banks and fintechs not only bid for customers, but also have the mission of collaborating to increase the percentage of the population with financial access and thus contribute to a true inclusion.

"It's not about competing or not with traditional banking, but about evolving our business, adapting to the needs of our customers," says Gustavo Fazzio, director of Financial Services at Naranja, at iProUP.

"In that sense, we define ourselves as a company that, instead of making a transformation, carries out a digital evolution because we add something to what we already had," explains the company's executive, the country's leading credit card issuer. more than 10 million plastics, 5.5 million customers and a network of 250 branches and 260,000 associated businesses.

During 2018, the fintech from Córdoba worked on the digitalization of procedures, implementing improvements to facilitate the generation of new accounts, digital payments, subscription to cable TV products, and 100% online application and settlement of personal loans, among others. .

"The new generations show a much faster adoption of this type of tool, there will be other segments of society in which this adoption will be much slower or null, that is where we must be present, offering advice that responds to their needs and that is why we believe in the central role that our branches of the future will have ", explains Fazzio.

The Branch of the Future that will begin to be tested in March, seeks to serve the client in the channel that he chooses with the best experience, as well as facilitating access to this type of technologies that make it easier to move money and facilitate inclusion.

The strategy will be to evolve the current model and develop adjacent businesses, with integral solutions, 100% mobile first experiences and the incorporation of advanced analytics.

Among other innovations, since the last quarter of 2018 conducted pilot tests Orange Account, which will allow you to use the cell phone to pay for services scanning the bar code with the phone, send or receive money between accounts, pay with QR code in shops and recharge network Bus and SUBE. The first stage of implementation in the market is planned for the end of March.

MONI, a pioneer fintech in the local market that was born as a loan platform, does not have benefit programs, but with an incremental logic of opportunities for its clients.

Through the assiduity of use, the user benefits from better conditions, both in terms of amount and payment terms, based on their financial behavior.

Unlike traditional wallets, MONI can charge a balance or ask for financing to pay for services. In this way, it combines its credit base with traditional services. An indicator of this is that more than 60% of the active loans that MONI has belong to users who request them again.

"We do not believe that it is attractive to retain clients under a system of benefits, especially because the segment we serve has no relationship with the banks, so for us loyalty goes to provide value-added services", explains Juan Pablo Bruzzo, CEO of the fintech, to iProUP.

Thus, the platform has its own scoring system that has nothing to do with that of traditional banking and serves its clients according to their financial behavior within the app, so that the developments that are projected in the future have as axis to that user.

Banks and fintech seek with different strategies to attract more and more consumers, taking advantage of technology as a facilitator of procedures. They are clear that the current client does not only require benefits or savings of money: not losing time became crucial in the era of digital transformation.

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