Hip, modern, cool and convenient. This easily could be the “status message” of the banks that now give the option of social media banking to their customers.
We don’t even need to do number crunching anymore to say that social media has pervaded almost all aspects of our lives. In the last few years, social media, through a myriad of platforms, has transformed the way we interact with each other. And now it is redefining yet another important part of our lives- the way we do banking.
Not only has it made banking more convenient, it has also made bank an almost omnipresent entity. It is a fact that most young people, under the age of 35 spend a large part of their day connected online, specifically on social networking websites from Facebook to Twitter and even YouTube. Of course, banks were already leveraging social media by mining customers’ sentiments, having a dialogue with them, taking care of their grievances and needs, giving them financial advice, etc. However, customers can now use their social media networks as a platform where they can transfer money to their friends and other contacts, and perform various other banking operations too. It is as easy as clicking that Like button on your friend’s new holiday picture album or Retweeting that tweet you liked so much!
For transferring money on social media, you don’t necessarily need the receiver’s bank account details. Usually, for most social media banking services, you simply need to register using your social media or email credentials. Once you have registered, you can transfer funds to your Facebook or Twitter friend by entering a one-time password (OTP) sent on your mobile.
ICICI Bank has two social media banking channels - Pockets for Facebook and icicibankpay for Twitter. You can check your balance, pay a friend, recharge your prepaid mobile phone, book movie tickets and even split group expenses with your friends on Pockets. What’s more, like a good friend, Pockets keeps you updated on your bank account balance and from time to time encourages you to open a FD. With icicibankpay on Twitter you can also recharge your DTH service and your prepaid mobile phone by sending a DM (direct message) from your Twitter handle to the bank's.
This not only makes banking convenient for the customers, especially the youth, but this platform has also provided banks a way to compete with digital payment providers such as Apple Pay and PayPal. Barclays in the UK, for example, has launched a payment method that allows people to transact with individuals and small businesses through Twitter.
The scope for social banking in India is enormous, thanks to the ever expanding number of social media users. According to the market research firm eMarketer, India will surpass the US to lead the global number of the largest Facebook user base on mobile by 2017. On Twitter, India currently has 22.2 million users. The report also mentions that by 2017, India will have the largest mobile phone user base at 145.9 million followed by the US at 138.8 million.
Moving forward, social media banking may just become the norm of personal banking in India. By experimentation and research, banks will understand more on how to engage with their customers to create shared social value. They will be able to create a good mix of social channels that can serve their customer’s goals. Understanding the needs and expectations of the customers has already become easier, as conversation between the bank and the user is become more transparent. The future of personal banking indeed looks bright, friendly, personalised, social and tech-savvy. With the nation’s youth’s spending power and social networking power on the rise, social media is a great way of making banking more dynamic and convenient.