Procurement · 9 August 2016

The innovations disrupting small business banking

touch ID
Banks are increasingly embracing touch identification as an innovation to allow customers to pay
After a two-year long inquiry, the latest report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has encouraged Britain’s high street banks to launch what it has labelled a technological revolution, and speed up the introduction of innovations to promote greater competition.

As part of its planned open banking programme, the CMA has called on Britain’s lenders to make it possible to share customers? data via new apps, enabling customers to more easily compare bank prices and standards, tackling some of the challenges small business owners face when dealing with banks.

To mark the reforms announced by the CMA, Business Advice has taken a closer look at some of the innovations already introduced by Britain’s lenders in recent years, designed to make banking more straightforward for small business owners.

Voice biometric technology

Keeping tabs on multiple pin numbers, passwords, dates and authentication details, required to gain access to various accounts, is a challenge most small business owners can easily do without when dealing with their bank.

Banking services are now accessed via telephone, the internet or apps, meaning individuals are expected to remember different details to access accounts via a growing list of platforms.

To get around this, some lenders have introduced voice biometric technology providing business customers with secure access to call centres by verifying a person’s identity from the sound and tone of their voice.

At the start of a call with their bank, the voice biometric technology checks a customers? voice against stored voiceprints, sending a verification result to the bank’s call operator, allowing them (or not allowing them) to provide secure information and complete a transaction.

Barclays, HSBC and First Direct are some of the banks to have brought in voice biometric technology in the UK so far in 2016.

Touch biometric technology

Similar to voice biometric technology in that is doesnt require customers to keep track of various passwords, dates and details, touch biometric technology verifies banking transactions by taking an individual’s fingerprint.

Touch identification is available via most new smartphones, and business customers are generally required to download a bank’s app to make use of the technology.

Having introduced touch biometric technology last year, Royal Bank of Scotland has hailed it as a huge success, and now has more than one million personal and business banking customers logging into accounts and making transactions with their fingerprint.

Innovative challenger banks

Alongside the innovative technologies introduced by major high street lenders has been the rise of new lenders offering a completely innovative type of banking experience to small business.

Launched in the UK a year ago, Mondo is a startup bank that exclusively offers its services to customers via smartphones.

Created to be the Google or Facebook of banking, with accounts that are as easily-used by customers as email, Mondo’s CEO Tom Blomfield recently told Bloomberg: We are targeting a demographic that values being able to do everything over a mobile phone in five seconds.

Mondo is not the only innovative, digital-only challenger bank to be gaining traction in the UK and offering something different to small business.



Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

High Streets Initiative