By Steve Slater
Imagine a personalised welcome, few queues and fingerprint
checks. This could be your bank branch in the future, thanks to
cutting-edge technology such as radio frequency identification and
In five years' time major banks across the globe could be using these
time-saving and customer-personalised devices to revolutionise branch
banking, consultancy firm Accenture said on Wednesday in a
presentation on the bank branch of the future.
"Banks are trying to differentiate themselves and branches are still
fundamental to this, so they are trialling lots of this new
technology," said Simon Jenkins, retail banking partner for Accenture
in the UK.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a technology being developed
by retailers that should migrate to banks. Customers would be
automatically identified by the RFID-encrypted card in their wallet as
they pass through the door, prompting a personalised welcome to flash
up on a computer screen.
By the time the customer reaches the counter all his or her details
are on the screen of the teller, who can discuss specific requirements
without asking a lot of redundant questions.
"The bank wants to be able to identify the customer the minute they
walk in and understand why they are there," said Mike Redding, head of
development for Accenture Technology Labs.
"The most innovative banks will then combine the data they already
have and the new information they get and simplify it and make it
RFID is also likely to feature in bank cards, key rings or mobile
phones as a payment option. The process is already under way in many
countries and oil major Exxon Mobil has issued six million SpeedPasses
to allow users to pay for gasoline easily at the pump, Redding said.
Demand for anti-fraud measures should see advances in biometrics --
fingerprint or eye, facial, palm, voice, vein or even ear shape
recognition software operated by bank staff or included in an
automated teller machine.
Redding said that, with banks keener than ever to get an edge over
rivals, other technology set to appear in branches includes digital
pen and paper or camera-based tracking to monitor customer traffic and
improve service and efficiency.
Away from the branch, other financial services applications set to
feature includes telematics, or automotive data collection, which
could see more insurers analysing journeys and offering
"pay-as-you-drive" cover for motorists.
Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.
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