Banks, for the most part, have realized the importance of mobile as a channel. Across the globe, empowered executives are being appointed to head up digital channel programs. Their primary mission: define and implement the mobile banking channel and seamlessly integrate it with the other major digital channels—online banking.

For the most part, they have focused their strategies on ”forklifting” online banking features to mobile without worrying much about mobile payments. However, the new reality of channel migration is a bit more complicated: the merger of virtual and digital channels in this new age of ”omnichannel banking” is bringing digital channels into bank branches, customer homes, and places of business, and transforming the world of payments and commerce.

So, how is the omnichannel reality affecting the world of payments, and why should banks care (aside from the fact that payments-related revenues can account for up to 25 percent of total retail banking revenues)?

Most of us are familiar with mobile apps that allow us, when in a retail store, to scan a product bar code, access online reviews, and potentially buy the product from Amazon.com (or a nearby retailer) at a discounted price. This capability is the new reality (and challenge) of omnichannel in the retail world. Such changes, however, will not end here: imagine receiving offers, digital coupons, credit card loyalty points, and more on your cell phone so that you can seamlessly apply them to your purchases when paying with your mobile device upon checkout (at the physical store or online).

The promise of connecting mobile payments and commerce through new capabilities embedded in the mobile wallet is real, and several mobile-wallet providers have emerged, including a number of non-financial-services players (telcos, tech companies, retailers, and others).

To better understand both the potential promise and threat of mobile and social payments from a customer perspective, Cisco IBSG, in June of 2012, conducted a U.S. consumer survey of 1,060 respondents. The survey, “Winning Strategies for Financial Services Players in the Age of Mobile and Social Payments,” covers:

  • Consumers’ readiness to adopt new forms of payments, and analysis of early-adopter segments.
  • Competitive positioning of incumbent financial services institutions when it comes to alternative payments and risks of not engaging.
  • Consumers’ major interests and concerns.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in Cisco IBSG’s Future of Payments series, which discusses the Internet of Everything (IoE)—a world where sensors embedded in vending machines, cars, roofs, human hearts, and more will be able to order and pay for services provided by humans or machines using capabilities built into (or possibly replacing) existing payment rails and mobile payments infrastructure.

Note: For more details on emerging Omnichannel Branch formats from a customer-expectation perspective, please refer to Cisco’s recent survey, “Winning Strategies for Omnichannel Banking: Cisco IBSG Global Research Reveals New Ways for Banks To Prosper in an Omnichannel World.


Philip Farah


Financial Services Practice of the IBSG