Financial institutions have been moving full speed ahead with the adoption of digital services. On a fundamental level, the digital evolution in the financial industry is centeredonone goal: providing an enhanced banking experience. However, in the realm of statements, bankers still have great strides to make toaccomplish this goal.
While digital statements have been an option for years, they have traditionally been limited to a digital scan or PDF of a physical document. Banks and consumers alike need a digitally native approach to statements that is accessible via any channel. Industry experts believe digital statements will soon shift from an opportunity to meet customers’ evolvingpreferences to a necessity.Looking ahead, banks that develop their statements with a digital-first approach can transform thismandated process into an engagement touch point.
The Current Landscape of Statements
According to CSI’s Banking Priorities Report,more than a third of financial institutions (36%) primarily deliver paper statements, which nearly doubles the number of customers who prefer to manage their finances digitally. While these numbers prove that many customers still rely on paper statements, they also suggest an opportunity for banks to shrink the gap between those who prefer digital solutions and those who utilize digital statements.
Currently, financial institutions offereStatements to their customers who prefer digital solutions. However, theyusually are offered in a PDF format, doing little to enhance the customer experience.This is because eStatements are static documents, which make it difficult for customers to clearly view their statements on a mobile device or computer. However, the increasing reliance on digital for all aspects of banking indicates the time is right for financial institutions to advocate for a full conversion and showcase all their digital services.
The Benefits of Digital Statements
Digital statements utilize modern web-programming methods, which allow customers to interact with their banking statements as they would a webpage. By creating statements in the format of an engaging website, banks can eliminate the common pain points of eStatements, such as excessive zooming and overwhelming rows of transactions.
Furthermore, banks can provide the same look and feel as with other digital banking experiences by utilizing API integrations. With this approach, financial data is updated in real time, and users avoid the disjointed experience of switching platforms. Like internet banking, the interactivity of digital statements enables customers to search for specific transactions, date ranges, amounts and merchants from their mobile device or computer.Customers can also use this functionality to create budgets, verify monthly expenses and detect fraudulent activity.
However, effective digital transformation is impossible without a clear view of customer data. Financial institutions must ensure their statements offer genuine insight and value. Digital statements have the capability to collate data for useful reporting. And updated analytics dashboards better illustrate recipient engagement, tracking usage and delivery failures. With these tools, banks gain insight into when and how their customers utilize documents. This data also provides banks with a complete picture of their customers’ interests and needs.
Promoting Digital Statement Adoption
Even before the global pandemic, Pew Research found that more than 80% of Americans use the internet daily. With ever-increasing preferences in favor of digital use, many customers are persuadable. To increase the adoption of digital statements, banks should use every tool at their disposal to inform and reassure customers about digital statements, highlighting the benefits listed below to help eliminate skepticism from their customers:
- Access from anywhere on preferred digital channels
- Immediate delivery with customer notifications
- Enhanced security that limits theft
- Automatic storage for review at the customer’s convenience
- Search functionality to verify transactions, detect fraud and create budgets
- Less clutter, which saves time for customers
- A positive environmental impact and eco-friendly footprint
As statements continue to evolve, banks will find themselves at a crossroads. They can either make statements worth their customers’ time and attention or expect minimal interaction. However, banks can drive customer engagement by investing in technology to not onlydigitize but enhance the statement experience.
Interactive digital statements also provide several benefits to your institution.Banks can ensure cross-channel consistency by updating their statements’ appearance to reflect their brand. Additionally, banks can simplify their marketing efforts and abandon the rigidness of traditional statements. Moving forward, banks should strive to transform their statements from a necessary expense into an engaging revenue channel.
Jimmie Paradee is product manager with CSI’s Document Services Division. In his role, Jimmie is responsible for the product management for all CSI Document Services web-based SaaS applications.