Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Charaka Kithulegoda, CIO, ING DIRECT

By Charaka Kithulegoda

It’s estimated that there are more smartphones on the planet than humans. By 2016, more than 10 billion smartphones will be in use around the global. And Canadians are leading that growth, with more than half of Canadian smartphone users banking from their mobile device – and that number grows even higher when looking at those between 18 – 34 years of age.

Our customers expect to be able to connect with their friends and family, browse and shop and of course, bank from their mobile devices. As the mobile marketplace continues to grow and expand, mobile banking is not just a convenient option for our clients, but a must have. So how do we provide our customers with easy access to their money at any time, wherever they are?

Working with IBM, ING DIRECT Canada has developed a long-term, secure strategy around our mobile architecture supporting multiple devices. This has allowed us to fast-track the delivery of mobile banking applications for all mobile devices. For example, our iPad application, developed with IBM, has a dashboard view that users can customize based on their frequently-transacted activities.

But we not only embraced mobile banking, we took it a step further and embraced social banking – providing our customers the ability to bank and transact from wherever they are and this includes social applications like Facebook and Twitter.

Our Facebook application, for instance, makes banking easy and secure. Customers can go from chatting with friends to checking out their accounts with the click of a key. Our customers were already logged onto Facebook, interacting with friends and family. Why make our clients log out, just to log back into our mobile site? Instead, we made it easy for our customers to bank where they already are.

Social banking has also helped us encourage our customer to save, through a program called Small Sacrifices. In a recent survey, we found that 52 percent of Canadians said that if they were able to better visualize what foregoing their daily, weekly and monthly spending on non-essential purchases looked like, they would save them over the short and long term, they would change their spending habits.

With client preferences at the heart of our business, we helped our customers visualize how cutting out everyday indulgences, — i.e. Small Sacrifices — could lead to big savings over the long term. It’s simple, but very effective. First, users choose what small sacrifice they can make, like passing on a daily coffee purchase. Then users decide which goal to redirect the money to, like their retirement fund or savings account. Once the user specifies how much money they spend on their average, Small Sacrifices creates a chart illustrating how much could be amassed in five- and 25 years by saving that amount weekly. The next time a user is tempted to spend on their non-essential purchase, they can choose to instead redirect that money to a savings or retirement account with one simple click.

At ING DIRECT, we understand that mobile technology is here to stay. It’s changing how we live our lives by helping make everyday tasks easier and more convenient.

Clients are telling us what they want and how they want to use our products and services. We have embraced this rapid evolution by providing open and engaging solutions that offer immediacy and simplicity through a highly contextual experience. 

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