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How Can Fintech Platforms Develop a ‘Human Touch’ & Why Does It Matter?-B-AIM PICK SELECTS

The pandemic drove an unprecedented wave of interest in online financial services, seemingly both out of necessity and curiosity.

On the one hand, individuals who may have previously relied on financial services that were provided in person were suddenly forced to switch to virtual platforms. As brick-and-mortar banks closed their doors, their virtual counterparts were the only option.

On the other hand, the combination of widespread lockdowns with an increased focus on problems in the global economy seems to have changed peoples’ relationships with their personal finances. For example, online investing platforms across the board seem to have onboarded waves of new users since March.

Regardless of the reason, the fact is that users are interacting with fintech platforms on a more widespread level than ever before.

As a result, financial services companies are upping their game when it comes to their B2C fintech offerings, building out new products and services at a record pace.

However, as the virtual fintech world increasingly dominates the methods in which people interact with fintech platforms, the number of products and services is only as good as a platform’s presentation. People who previously handled most of their financial business in-person may feel put-off and alienated, or even confused and defeated, by something like a banking app.

This is why developing and maintaining a ‘human touch’ in fintech is more important than ever. As financial companies increasingly move their B2C operations online, how can customers’ interactions with fintech platforms maintain a personal touch?

Adam Smith, chief executive of Saxo Markets Australia, told Finance Magnates that he believes a human touch in the virtual fintech world is ‘extremely important’.

Adam Smith, CEO of Saxo Markets Australia

Part of the reason for this is because Smith has seen what can happen when things go wrong: “in Australia, some of our biggest companies were so severely impacted by the pandemic that their offshore operations were suspended, leaving many customers in the dark and unable to contact them,” he said. “This eroded trust, which is a key ingredient in any relationship, slow to build up, and can be lost in a second.”

However, now that the most immediate crisis seems to be over Adam says that “Financial Services are now running the same risk if they lose sight of the importance of the human connection.

“Trust and relationships are built between people, not people and machines. Without a human side to fintech, consumers are less equipped to make informed decisions about their money or data, or feel empowered and confident in adopting new technologies.”

It is also important to remember that for some customers, the human interactions involved with certain financial activities are a part of the value of the experience.

Eric Anziani, chief operating officer at, told Finance Magnates that for example, “one of the reasons why senior citizens still walk to the bank twice a week and queue in line is not because they are incapable of obtaining money in any other way: it is because they value the human interaction and the personal touch that comes from banking face to face.”

“That’s an important point to bear in mind when designing fintech platforms: your mandate to automate processes doesn’t have to come at the expense of dehumanizing the experience. Maintaining customer support who can assist users when they get stuck, while demonstrating that there are real people behind the platform who actually care, is imperative.”

What are the specific elements of design that must be taken into consideration when engineering ‘human touch’ into a fintech platform?

Leena Iyar, chief brand officer of business interaction management platform company Moxtra, told Finance Magnates that at the most basic level, customers and users need to know that their data will be protected on fintech platforms. For fintech platforms that interface directly with banks is also a matter of concern on the institutional side of things.

“Due to the highly personal nature of the information and the greater cybersecurity risk inherently involved, the first key to propelling customer service efforts is that fintech solutions must prove to banks and clients that their security and privacy are top-notch and of the highest priority,” Iyar explained.

“A lack of well-thought-out functionalities can present risks for clients and banks.”

Part of this includes customization: “fintech solutions must prioritize putting settings in place that tailor permissions for roles that mirror banking operations,” Iyar said. “By enforcing these boundaries within the solution a precise management system is created which provides a higher quality of service from the top down.”

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