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VeriPark Blog

Mar 20
How can travel insurers succeed in the on-demand economy?

Many of your customers already run their lives in the on-demand world. They download ride-sharing apps, order everything from sushi to dry cleaning and medical prescriptions, and all from the comfort of their home.

This 'uberization' process, where you can turn services on-and-off at the switch of a button, is still novel in the travel insurance market. But, it's gaining traction. Customers like the convenience, while insurance companies benefit by gaining more insight into their customers' habits.

Detailed customer behaviour data is essential for insurance companies in an increasingly competitive market. Traditional and non-traditional players are launching innovative seamless services to meet customer demand for an anytime, anywhere, experience.

Unlike banks, insurance providers tend not have massive transactional data to hand. However, to boost customer engagement with personalized communications and services, they do need the right tools to leverage data, such as customer location.

'Always-on' customers need you to be there for them

Travel trends have shifted significantly in the last decade. Trips now tend to be shorter and more frequent. Millennials, in particular, are adventurous travelers, with some even living the 'digital nomad' lifestyle.

Take Amsterdam-based designer, Mary, for example. She's also a travel blogger with over 10K Instagram followers. When she gets a last-minute invitation to a terrarium design workshop in Barcelona, she has to pack and move fast.

On her way to the airport, she schedules her appointments and books a hotel using her smartphone. She's so busy, travel insurance simply doesn't occur to her.

Giving customers peace of mind when they need it most

Thankfully, Mary has her car insurance with Verisurance, so she has the location-enabled app installed on her phone. Because the app detects that Mary is at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, she receives a notification about "pay-as-you-travel" on-demand insurance.

She's asked a few simple questions, such as who she's travelling with and whether it's for business or leisure. In around one minute, she's given details of the standard coverage, excess and daily rates for the EU and rest of the world. Mary clicks 'accept' and receives her travel insurance confirmation right away. Now, she can relax and enjoy her flight.

Personalized offers based on detailed customer insight

The Verisurance virtual assistant platform welcomes Mary as soon as she lands at Barcelona El Prat airport. It uses geolocation and machine learning to find local insurance rates. When Mary types "yes" to agree, she immediately gets a message confirming her travel insurance coverage.

Creating added value using customer data

Mary enjoys the workshop in Barcelona and, after four days, lands back at Amsterdam Schiphol. Her Verisurance virtual assistant welcomes her home, shows her the total insurance costs for the trip and asks which registered credit card she'd like to pay with. Mary enters the last four digits of her card and the CVC code, and instantly receives a payment approved notice. She also opts to have a costs summary and payment receipt sent to her preferred email address.

Tracking customer expectations and preferences

Finally, Mary gets a message that reads:

Dear Mary, it was a pleasure to assist you during your trip. May I kindly ask you to take a second and give us feedback on how you have experienced our interaction and services? 1 for Excellent, 2 for Good, 3 for Satisfactory, 4 for unsatisfactory

When Mary types in "1" and sends, she's rewarded:

Thank you for helping us improve our service and customer experience. We will definitely express our appreciation soon. Don't forget to check your Verisurance mobile app's "Surprise awards" section regularly. Hope to talk to you again on your next trip, have a safe journey home.

Developing customer-centric tools to improve your value propositions

The Verisurance CRM platform does more than offer your customers convenience and peace of mind when travelling. It lets you manage all your distribution channels, including customer or broker portals and contact centers, on one platform.

Our Omni-Channel Insurance services help insurers provide consistent and integrated services, whatever channel their customers choose. This gives you the opportunity to map the entire customer journey and communication preferences through analytics and rich data sets. The insights you gain into your customers' travel habits can inform new product development, marketing campaigns and personalized offers.

Mar 15
Banking beyond the branch – three relationship tips for the digital age

Banking has always depended on relationships. But, as customers demand new and better digital experiences, the way banks build and maintain those relationships is changing fast. Once the branch was the cornerstone of the banking experience; increasingly, that experience is a Digital First or Mobile First strategy.

Your younger customers, in particular, live their life through their mobile. They use it to connect, discover and collaborate on social networks and order virtually anything they want from meals and outfits to music, movies and holidays. They expect their bank to be as simple and accessible as their apps.

Open 24 hours

From the banks' point of view going digital makes sense. Lower costs, faster implementation and more personalized customer offers all boost ROI. But customers welcome it too; in the latest EY research, 64% said they were comfortable switching to a digital-first bank.

It's hardly surprising that the European Central Bank has reported a decline in the number of bank branches (the annual growth rate was -2.3% from 2007 to 2017). Forward-thinking organizations have an unprecedented opportunity to re-engineer the banking experience. With the help of VeriPark's Omni-channel solutions – spanning internet and mobile banking, mobile wallet, chatbots and digital onboarding – they can create a dynamic branchless bank that connects with customers whenever they want and wherever they go.

When was the last time you really needed to visit a bank branch?

This was the question posed by, Turkey's first purely digital bank, launched by QNB Finansbank. Their attitudinal research into the millennial market confirmed that this customer group isn't interested in visiting traditional branches. Instead, they're looking for rich and meaningful digital and mobile experiences. opted for a digital-only branchless approach. They now have 1.2 million retail customers, a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 75% (the average for banks in Turkey is 8%) and 50% of all their new customers come through referrals.

How did they do it? They focused on creating an outstanding user experience to build exceptional customer engagement. Here are their three digital relationship tips.

1. Use customer insights to give timely and relevant offers

In EY's research, 40% of customers say they would stay loyal to their bank if they provided more personalized service. But, only 24% feel that their bank understands their goals.

2. Pass savings on to customers in the form of free services and loyalty rewards

For this includes no subscription fees or transaction fees on payments and transfers alongside discounts on popular millennial-focused services, such as Spotify and Netflix.

3. Make everything as user- friendly as possible started by simplifying the standard 20-30 page customer contract document. They created one that's just two pages long and written in simple and easy-to-understand language. proves that a fully digital bank, with no physical branches, can build rewarding relationships with customers. Using VeriPark's VeriChannel Omni-Channel Delivery Solution was a smart and fast way to fuel innovation and harness this global trend towards frictionless digital customer experience.

Jan 23
Lufthansa AirPlus - Business Travel Payment Made Easy

In recent years, the financial industry has come under pressure from many angles. While income is pointing downwards as a result of market drivers and regulation, young FinTech start-ups pick elements of the customer journey and innovate heavily. AirPlus, a leading international provider of business travel management and payment solutions operating in over 50 countries, increasingly feel the pressure and decided to pioneer new ways of delivering products and services to customers.

Transforming into a 'Cloud First', 'Digital First' provider

AirPlus has been operating in a traditional and product-centric ecosystem. However, success in the modern marketplace requires companies to put customers at the centre of their operations and deliver excellent customer experience. This shift in focus was the key driver in the company's decision to launch a digital transformation program. It began the digital transformation journey by closely analysing its own operations and the products it delivers to its customers. Planning the course of the journey included designing customer personas, looking at customer behaviour and the actual value delivered to customers.

Based on the internal analysis AirPlus realized that one of the main challenges for the company was a lack of Omni-product, Omni-Channel processes. There were different product-specific systems in place to manage different touchpoints which means that the company needed to maintain different functional sets to serve different channels. This resulted in the fact that the customer experience could differ across products and channels.

'We are transforming AirPlus into a 'cloud first', 'digital first' business travel payment service provider. In order to achieve strengthen customer centricity throughout the organization we needed a central data repository for customer information and interactions,' says Christian Binderbauer, Lead Architect and Chief Product Owner. 'Another goal is to deliver products we currently sell and service through assisted channels only also via self-service channels, which will hugely improve efficiency and make them available to smaller companies.'

VeriPark delivers ready-to-use financial industry specific processes

AirPlus selected the VeriPark solutions portfolio based on Microsoft Dynamics365 and Azure technology because of the unique set of functionalities it brings along. At its core, the solution delivers a platform that allows to channel services through different interaction touchpoints, thus eliminating the boundaries between assisted and unassisted channels. 'VeriPark's software adds a significant set of ready-to-use financial industry specific processes. Modern cloud architecture fulfils state-of-the-art security requirements and helps speeding up delivery. Using Software As A Service (SAAS) is a safe and smart way of combining functional elements across boundaries - and it works.' says Binderbauer.

The transition to this delivery was not painless. Moving from a mainframe-centric architecture with a lot of inhouse development to a 'cloud user' with more than 95% of functionality and integration coming from industry-standard platform was tricky and full of surprises. Now, AirPlus successfully integrates customer relationship management and Omni-Channel delivery solutions to its new ecosystem aiming at leveraging cost and time-to-market advantages. 'VeriPark has teamed up with several other Microsoft partners for the digital transformation project including SiteCore for CMS (Content Management System), Pros (CPQ), Icertis (Contract Management), XperiDo (Document Generation) and InRule (Rule Engine)' says Wim Geukens, Managing Director of VeriPark Europe.

The solution will be used by up to 700 internal, 49,000 companies (i.e. 300,000 system users). Customer engagement features of the solutions will be used by AirPlus employees in sales and marketing departments as well as in customer service areas. At the same time, VeriPark products will provide customers with access to their services and products through the new AirPlus portals.

One process through all channels

AirPlus has ambitious goals for the new solution. 'A key driver for AirPlus is efficiency,' explains Binderbauer. 'If you have a process that can be delivered through multiple channels, there is one machine you build and maintain for several purposes.'

This also has a positive impact on time-to-market. 'Implementation of functionality currently happens in record time by the current standards of our organization.', says Binderbauer.

Customer interaction history at users' fingertips

AirPlus believes that the new solution will drastically improve its operations by eliminating numerous process workarounds and exceptions that resulted from a lack of legacy flexibility. Sales and customer service agents will have the entire customer interaction history at their fingertips allowing them to deliver improved service.

AirPlus foresees the implementation of VeriPark's 'Next Best Action' functionality to help agents determine what the most important thing is for the customer at a given point in time considering relevant circumstances. By supporting Next Best Actions with artificial intelligence, employees will have even better insight into customer behaviour, while, on the self-service portal, users can be taken on individualised journeys and improving their experience.

The final goal for AirPlus is to become a fully digital solutions provider. Customers can still choose to interact with the company in traditional ways while also having access to the advantages of the digital era, such as fully digital onboarding processes, digital signatures and digital delivery.

Here is an interview video with Christian Binderbauer, Lead Architect and Chief Product Owner at AirPlus International about AirPlus Business Transformation Project. You can also watch the long version here


Jan 18
New security requirements of Open Banking

VeriPark's Omni-Channel delivery solutions provide the new levels of security required for open banking, says Gökhan Çakıroğlu, CTO of VeriPark. The Open Banking Initiative has been a major development in the growth of financial services. This initiative changes the way banks can handle your personal information. Simply put, all banks must allow you to share your financial data, such as spending habits and statements, with other providers or banks, provided they're authorised under the scheme.

The initiative is an attempt to increase competition and innovation within the financial services industry – something that providers rely on to offer new services. However, it's proved to be a challenge for regulators, as it requires releasing data that has traditionally been hidden behind a single institution's firewall. Open banking and the needs of fintechs to access this information and transfer it between what could be multiple locations requires new levels of security.

In response, VeriPark became a member of the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) with its Omni-Channel delivery solutions. BIAN helps to define a revolutionary banking technology framework that standardises and simplifies core banking architecture. As acceptance grows for this framework, security-related data both at rest and in transit will increase due to the centralisation of data, standardization of service-oriented architecture interfaces and reduction in the number of batch data transmissions.

VeriPark's Omni-Channel banking platform enables banks to authenticate users in digital and assisted channels by using biometrics including iris, palm vein, facial and voice recognition technologies. Onboarding flows and processes are also extended to use the biometrics in order to have a fast and highly secure onboarding experience. As a result of leveraging Azure Cognitive Services, Artificial Intelligence and biometrics, VeriPark builds smooth and secure customer experiences in both digital and assisted channels.

Dec 20
Chatbots are the banks' new best friends for customer service interaction

AI-Driven Chatbots in Banking and Financial Services

"I've lost my credit card, what do I do?" "Can I transfer some money?" "What's my account balance?" Customer service advisers, in banks across the world, answer these types of questions every day. But, perhaps not for much longer, as chatbots are increasingly answering them instead of humans.

In fact, according to a recent Gartner survey, 61% of us are already using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-underpinned technology such as chatbots, Virtual Personal Assistants, driving route apps and streaming services. For 'always on' customers, who expect a smooth, seamless service 24/7, AI interactions are the new normal. Chatbots are now particularly prevalent in financial services, where their potential goes much further than transactional enquiries.

Chatbot platforms and natural language technologies are improving all the time. Gartner estimates that by 2020, chatbots will power 85% of all customer service interactions. Many banking customers start using chatbots for routine tasks but increasingly sophisticated two-way conversations result in a more positive experience.

Why Use Chatbots?

The banking customer journey is more complex than ever. Customers use online and offline channels and expect a personalized experience from their financial institution at every step of their journey. And, based on this, banks must engage with their customers in the right way, and at the right place and time.

Well integrated, intelligent chatbot solutions are a key part of this engagement process. They're changing the face of banking communications, giving customers relevant information fast and round the clock customer support.

Not Convinced? Consider This Customer Scenario

Meet Sean – he's recently married. During a dull moment watching a football match, Sean decides to check his phone to see if his new joint account has been activated. He logs in and sees quickly that it has, but he also notices he has a mortgage offer. It's a good rate and it captures his attention.

He can't call his bank right now. The football stadium is too noisy and there's no privacy. But he can have a text-based conversation with a chatbot.

He's asked to confirm his employer and salary. He's recently changed jobs, so he updates the details. He's immediately told how much he's eligible to borrow and asked if he'd like to see an in-branch adviser or if he'd prefer a home visit.

He selects to see someone in a branch and two clicks later, he has a next-day appointment at a branch of his choice, an email confirmation and a map of how to get there. With Natural Language Processing (NLP), Sean would also have the option of using voice instructions and the system would understand him in his own language from any device. Machine Learning (ML) provides a near human-level of communication ensuring he gets accurate answers to his requests in real time.

It's an instant, intuitive, personalized service using Sean's preferred digital channel. And, he hasn't even missed a goal.

That's great for Sean. He's a satisfied, engaged customer who now feels he has a good relationship with his bank. But the benefits of chatbot technology go much further. There are significant cost savings from automating transactional enquiries and it allows customer service representatives to focus on more complex customer issues that require deeper human insight.

Marketing Driven By Customer Needs

More importantly, AI-driven chatbot technology gives banks a deeper understanding of their customers' behavior, life events and financial needs. They can even be integrated with social media channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn. These actionable insights allow you to deliver highly targeted content for cross-sale and up-sale opportunities that secure and reward your customers.

Let's go back to Sean. He hadn't told his bank he wanted a mortgage. That mortgage offer communication was triggered by him getting married and opening a joint account. AI recognizes these life events as frequently associated with buying a house. The communication reaches Sean exactly when he's in a mindset to take out a mortgage and the chatbot feature allows him to jump on the offer immediately.

Using chatbots as part of an Omni-channel banking experience not only makes transactions more efficient, interactive and personalized. It can drive higher customer awareness, satisfaction and retention rates through targeted, relevant communications.

Nov 20
3 reasons banks can't afford to ignore mobile wallet

According to Gartner's latest mobile app survey, 64% of smartphone app users in the US, UK and China have used Mobile Wallet at least once in the last three months. Although currently 40% of users are using the apps more to place orders and compare prices rather than make actual payments - you don't need a crystal ball to see a future where mobile payments replace credit and debit cards completely. Here are three reasons why banks can't afford to ignore Mobile Wallet any longer:

1. Customers will come to expect instant payments and engaging service

Customers' lives are increasingly centred around their smartphone. Phones have already replaced many of the items we used to carry around such as cameras, train tickets and newspapers. How long before customers expect to be able to manage all their personal finances from their phone, tablet or smartwatch?

These Mobile Wallets are the future of how your customers will handle their money. Banks who embrace open banking principles have the opportunity to create more sophisticated and useful services than the fragmented and limited offers from challengers such as Apple, Amazon or single store apps. A bank can leverage their expertise to offer extensive features and integrate with third party providers (TPPs) to eliminate the need for multiple apps. Mobile payments will be an essential part of the financial eco-system. And, banks are the natural owners of this space. But to win the game they need to match agile and lean competitors.

2. You can't prise a Millennial away from their phone

For your younger customers the Mobile Wallet future has already arrived. This generation is not attached to bank branches; they're attached to their phone. Even internet banking is seen as an anachronism. As they accumulate more wealth and seek a wider range of financial services, this generation will become a more profitable customer sector. They are already using our Personal Finance Management (PFM) functionality to monitor and plan their spending and budget for holidays and bigger purchases. Later, they will need help at various life stages. For example, banks can use Mobile Wallet to send instant pre-approved loans with competitive rates and easy repayment options to convert any spending to microloans.

In the meantime, Mobile Wallet significantly reduces the cost of on-boarding these new customers. Adding convenient services, such as P2P payments, and innovations, such as integrating Mobile Wallet with chatbots, can also help ensure their long-term loyalty.

Mobile Wallet can also help target other previously difficult to reach (or cost-effectively service) markets. These include supporting customers on low incomes with limited access to banking and financial services and offering easy instalment repayment options for micro-loans. Mobile Wallet is a perfect example of how technology can boost financial inclusion amongst these previously neglected groups.

 3. You need to know your customers, as well as Amazon and Google, know theirs

There are huge opportunities to use instant campaign feedback and customer data to gain insights into their future behaviour and improve customer service, experience and loyalty. For example, banks can work in partnership with retailers or restaurant chains to create personalised loyalty systems. With VeriPark's machine learning capability, we can analyse shopping data and issue hyper personalised, location-based push notifications to enhance offers.

Most Mobile Wallet users are currently in the millennial age group. But they are influencing older generations. Providing a compelling Mobile Wallet offering is a priority for banks who want to stay ahead of the competition. Our figures show how Mobile Wallet makes this possible. When we worked with Turkey's largest bank to develop their Mobile Wallet system, they attracted 50,000 new customers in just three months.​

Nov 07
A new way to accelerate financial inclusion: VeriPark’s e-Wallet solution

As great, personalised customer experiences become the new normal for consumers, financial organisations recognise the importance of applying game-changing digital innovations. New services such as mobile wallets now come into play to meet the demands of banking customers, particularly millennials who want omnichannel consumer service available on the go, anytime, virtually anywhere.

From this perspective, VeriPark designed an e-Wallet solution, building on 20 years of experience with the VeriChannel solution based on the Microsoft platform and Azure services. The solution stands out as a new way of managing finances through one single application, which is accessible 24/7 at the tips of customers' fingers. Customers can easily manage and control their budgets, monitor their expenses and reach campaigns in their areas of interest. Before e-Wallet, payment used to be tied to a location – but not anymore. Customers can now make P2P contactless payments in real time and use QR codes or NFC to facilitate faster mobile payments.

VeriPark's e-Wallet was recently implemented for a bank as a financial inclusion and digital payment solution, gaining over 50,000 customers in the first three months. Customers can instantly perform card transactions, manage coupons, follow up and apply merchant campaigns and earn loyalty points. They can also defer payment or pay in instalments, splitting the total into smaller amounts to pay off at regular intervals over a set period – and much more.

Wim Geukens is managing director of VeriPark Europe

Nov 06
The Power of Unified Front End in Banking - Employee Experience

Customer-facing professionals are likely to use the latest smartphones and tablets with advanced user interfaces in their daily lives. They drag and drop, double tap or even speak to their mobile devices to get things done. However, when they are at work, they are forced to use dated software and technologies. The complexities of this older software make it difficult for front-end staff to engage with customers and complete tasks, making them less enthusiastic in their roles.

Banks branches and their contact centres are overcoming these issues by implementing unified front end (UFE) solutions, which consolidate the user interface of all banking functionalities into one application. UFE applications have one login and one navigation menu, and they are intuitive and easy to use for front-end staff. Although users see a unified interface, the UFE simply acts as a thin layer that connects the back-end systems and applications, which all stay the same.

UFE solutions can also help banks to modernise the employee experience and align it with the types of user interfaces of the applications that they are familiar with interacting with in their personal lives. When bank associates have a piece of software they love that makes daily tasks easier to perform, they have much more time to engage with customers. In fact, banks see benefits in three key areas when they roll out UFE in branches and contact centres.

First, UFE cuts the costs of various operations. For example, VeriPark's clients can now fulfil customer requests between 17% and 48% more quickly because their staff are only using one application, rather than several. In addition, UFE enables banks to authentic users and transactions via biometrics, debit card pin validation or smartphone-based passwords. This eliminates the expensive step of signature and transaction verification.

The second benefit of UFE is that it minimises operational mistakes made by employees. Banks can use the UFE application's in-built engine to manage and change operational rules. Importantly, because the applications integrate with back-end systems – such as the customer relationship management (CRM) and data warehouse platforms – banks can even implement complex business rules while the transactions are running. For example, if the bank changes the minimum income requirement for loan products in the rule engine, the UF application will check the salary mentioned in the transaction and alert the bank associate. Similarly, the UFE can surface alerts about a customer, such as an expired ID or a missing mandatory field, so the bank associate can rectify the issue.

Finally, the third significant benefit of UFE is that it helps tellers turn into sellers because they can spend more time engaging with customers and finding ways to increase the bank's wallet share. UFE applications have integrated machine learning models that predict what 'next best actions' sales associates should present to individual customers, enabling them to suggest relevant products or services. Without these systems providing guided selling assistance, sales associates do as they've always done and try to drive sales in areas where the bank is missing targets. For example, an associate may offer a customer a credit card if the bank is missing sales targets on that product, without realising that the customer cancelled their credit card the month before. This type of sales attempt is valuable to nobody – and it annoys the customer.

However, when banks use 'tellers as sellers' initiatives and machine learning-based guided selling systems, associates can suggest relevant products – such as card upgrades, limit increases and top ups - and banks can start seeing high conversion rates of up to 14% on product offers. VeriPark has already seen successful implementations that have enabled bank associates to conclude product sales within 200 seconds.

UFEs also have multiple intangible benefits, particularly when it comes to enhancing the employee experience, reducing training times and improving client interactions. Although they don't need to be, UFEs built into a CRM application can certainly help banks to transform from product-centric to customer-centric organisations.

Özkan Erener - CEO at VeriPark

Jul 04
The Power of Unified Front End in Banking - Customer Experience

A man comes running into a bank branch and says to the receptionist: "I've lost my wallet and I need to cancel all my cards, please help me."

The receptionist calmly asks the man to take a service ticket from a machine and 15 minutes later, he finally manages to speak to a customer service representative (CSR) who says the bank can cancel his cards if he is able to give the card numbers. Giving a look of clear exasperation, the customer responds: "I don't know. I lost them. I was hoping you would know."

The CSR must then log in to the bank's systems to find the customer's card information. If the CSR was lucky, the bank would have had a system that offered a 360-degree overview of all the customer's information on one screen, so it would have been quick and easy to cancel everything in one go. However, the bank does not have this system, which means that the CSR has to open the credit card application, find all the cards, cancel and then replace them one by one, before going through the exact same process in the debit card application. The CSR then has to log in to the core banking application to charge the customer a fee for replacing all of the cards. Unsurprisingly, the customer objects to the fees, so the CSR has to load up another screen to waive the charges and chase down the branch manager to approve the charge waiver flag.

Although banks frequently receive requests from customers to cancel one or more lost cards, most banks aren't able to do so quickly. For example, at one bank that VeriPark worked with, the CSR had to open three separate applications and navigate through 11 different screens to complete the operation, before printing out four paper forms for the customer to sign.  In this instance if a customer walked into the branch to request a card cancellation, they would be lucky to leave in 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, this picture is common in our industry. However, there is a solution: unified front end (UFE). This is a single, unified interface to all of the applications that branch staff need to use to cancel cards, which means that that they would no longer need to launch multiple applications to get the job done. Unlike in the above scenario where the CSR takes 30 minutes to cancels a card because they need to log in to three applications, navigate 11 screens and print out four pages for the customer to sign, the UFE allows the CSR to log into one application, look at one screen and print out one page in less than 300 seconds. UFE turns the bank from being product centric to customer centric by ensuring that the customer's needs are satisfied within five minutes.

Although this concept is so simple that it should be a no-brainer, UFEs in the banking industry are as about as common as UFOs. So, what prevents banks from building UFEs? I think I know the answer.

VeriPark is currently discussing implementing a UFE with one of our customers. The bank needs to build 1,600 screens for its branch UFE by using code, but they need 200 developers to carry out the work. While this would be easy for a software company like VeriPark, it's not so achievable for a bank whose core business is not software development.

UFEs are among the most complex types of software applications to create because they need to encapsulate core banking, credit cards, loan origination, investments and more. Banks have hundreds of applications and thousands of screens, so building a UFE using code should be their last resort. Instead, the UFE screens should be built using no-code development environments.

Luckily, software tools are giving us multiple no-code development options, but which one should we use? The debate usually shortlists business process management (BPM) systems, plain old development environments and customer relationship management (CRM) systems as contenders for building these UFEs. If the UFE was only supposed to make transactions, print statements and process bill payments, I would opt for plain old development environments or even a BPM screen builder.

However, these front ends are complex. Banks want UFEs to help them cross-sell, to fix compliance issues, alert them if a customer is missing a declaration and more. Banks want these front ends to do more than just cancel lost cards on a single screen, they would like to be able to sell, serve and solve client needs in that same screen. If the customer visits the branch or the contact centre to cancel a lost card, that screen is a great place to offer insurance protection against future theft of the new cards, or to trigger a complaint if there was a disputed transaction. It is also an ideal opportunity to double check if the customer's address and mobile number are still the same. A UFE does the job it's supposed to, but also does so many other things under the hood.

Only CRM systems have the feature set to cross-sell, ensure data quality, service agreements, provide a single view of the customer and more. BPM and plain old development environments don't have these features in their DNA. For this reason, CRM systems are a great candidate to build UFEs that can turn banks into true customer-centric businesses.

Özkan Erener is CEO of VeriPark

Mar 29
Making the move to open banking

The financial services industry witnessed the start of a transformation that will funda-mentally change the relationship between consumers and retail banks when the European Union  Revised  Payment  Services  Directive (PSD2) came into effect in January 2018. The expansive PSD2 regulation includes numerous updates, however the requirement for financial institutions to participate in an open banking system is by far the most challenging.Open banking is the up-and-coming trend in financial technology, emerging out of a situa-tion of shifting customer behaviour, regulatory changes, the threat from digital ecosystems and the quest for new business models. It is based on financial institutions signing over the access rights for their digital assets and services to third-party developers, who can use application pro-gramming interfaces (APIs) to build applications and services around the financial organisations. The open banking approach facilitates greater financial transparency and helps financial institu-tions to innovate and create new revenue models. If executed correctly, open banking technology will increase innovation, substitute collaboration, extend customer reach, and lower costs.

When banks are opening up their infrastruc-ture, an API strategy should be considered a business, rather than an IT, strategy. Giving API access away for free may drive brand loyalty and allow the API provider to enter new chan-nels, but it may also prove unsustainable over time. However, with careful execution, offering third-party developers free API access may act as a stepping stone for building both direct and indirect business models.

One of the biggest hindrances for banks when it comes to adopting an open banking approach is core banking systems. Owing to the complex nature of these legacy systems, dealing with core banking processes is time consuming and expensive. It is possible for banks to redesign this core infrastructure, but this is an equally costly and long-drawn-out process.

The Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) is working to address the design issues of core banking systems, seeking to establish a reference framework that identifies and defines IT services in the banking industry. BIAN's framework represents an opportunity for banks to facilitate legacy system replacement and consequently, to improve business agility and reduce integration costs.

VeriPark is a member of BIAN and, now that the majority of banks have also joined the com-munity, it has seized the opportunity to use its industry expertise and architectural agility to help define a revolutionary banking technology framework that standardises and simplifies core banking architecture. In addition, VeriPark is committed to using the open banking and pay-ment standards that have been set by BIAN.

VeriChannel from VeriPark offers a secure, uni-fied platform that empowers organisations to man-age seamless, consistent and engaging customer journeys across multiple customer touchpoints. Banks can use VeriChannel to standardise their web, mobile, kiosks and ATMs services accordin to BIAN's open banking standards. Meanwhile, companies using the VeriChannel Omni-Channel Banking solution will be able to use VeriPark's standardised connectors to provide feature-free APIs to third-party developers so they can build applications and services.Mixing up APIs, financial data and other technologies will create endless possibilities for the banking industry. Open banking will also benefit both businesses and consumers by giving them new insights that will help them to better manage their money and by allowing them to access products that may not have been available before. By providing easier access to financial services, cheaper overdraft services, more innovative ways to perform financial operations, and improved comparison services for loans, mortgages and insurance, banks will be able to deliver more personalised or tailored financial services that better meet customers' individual behaviours and lifestyles.

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