Augmented reality – how can it change the way we bank?

While games like Pokémon GO! have millions of people all over the world gripped, and in some instances risking life and limb to catch rare critters in remote locations in the real world; it appears it isn’t just the gaming world that is sold on augmented reality. A number of other industries are now seeking new and innovative ways of interacting and engaging with consumers to not only improve the user experience, but also bring them closer to their customer’s real world.

Interestingly, one of these sectors is the banking industry, which is using the latest financial software and app technology to bring virtual banking services into the physical world. There are numerous ways in which financial companies are looking to do this; aiming to enhance the consumers experience and add value.

The latest innovations

For instance, the latest trial launch from Visa Europe and their innovations hub, Visa Europe Collab, back in June 2016 has seen them collaborate with app developers Blippar to create an augmented reality payment system. The e-commerce app uses digital banking technology and app development software to recognise items of interest in different scenarios by simply holding the phone up to the item and tapping the screen. The app will then identify where the item is from, whether users are admiring a friend’s outfit or a stranger on a train, giving them the option to complete a transaction there and then to be delivered to their door using a pre-registered, pre-paid debit or credit card. This augmented reality payment system could revolutionise how consumers interact with retailers and their banking services in so many ways.

Another example of banks incorporating augmented reality is the National Bank of Oman’s latest app launch, which uses certain digital banking technology to help shoppers entering a shopping mall or retail outlet to locate the nearest NBO branch or ATM in Oman, as well as view and purchase the bank’s latest offers and deals.

A whole new world

It’s these kinds of innovations that are transforming the way people bank, as well as how banks operate. In the United States alone, it’s reported that a number of banks including Wells Fargo are following in the footsteps of the likes of Google, Facebook and Sony incorporating virtual-reality systems into their portfolio.

Having said that the banking industry’s experiments with augmented reality technology are still very much in the early stages. It’s reported that one possibility that could be explored is creating virtual-reality branches. This would allow users to visit a “branch” and carry out everyday banking, purchase services and more without even having to leave their homes, via an augmented reality system such as Google Glass.

Beyond this there are many other plausible uses for augmented reality in banking, which are likely to be part of the future evolution of how we all bank every day.

Does augmented reality mean more real risk?

But while this all sounds very impressive and advanced; one element that may concern users is how secure these types of augmented reality banking apps and services really are. With the capability to instantly buy purchases just by holding up your phone or do virtual reality banking from your living room or anywhere for that matter, are we potentially putting ourselves at higher risk of a security breach?

Well naturally as new technology advances are made, the cyber criminals in the world will find new ways to manipulate and corrupt systems. But to counteract this it’s likely that all digital banking technology will be designed to be robust to ensure very high standards of security are maintained at all times. Naturally, just like any other form of virtual banking, these types of virtual reality applications will require a level of personal verification that is only known by the user. The personal data will also be heavily encrypted to protect it from cyber criminals and ensure that personal banking information isn’t compromised.

Providing secure and safe digital banking technology is implemented to create a virtual world of banking, there is a great potential to create even more innovative possibilities for a wide range of augmented reality banking services worldwide.

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