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Secure Messenger Apps and the future of Banking and Finance

Nate Macleitch
23 Apr 2021
Secure communication for banking and finance

The widespread popularity of messaging apps poses both challenges and opportunities for banking and finance. The digital revolution has already radically changed the way banks and financial institutes engage with their customers. Nowadays a plethora of ordinary financial transactions is performed online, with many banks and financial organizations offering their own downloadable apps. However, there is still further potential to improve customer relations with the use of technology.

Evolving customer expectations

Increased reliance on instant messaging apps has heightened customer expectations in the realm of banking and finance. There is now greater customer demand for instant communication and responsive and personalized customer care.

No longer content to queue up in line at a local branch or be placed on hold to speak with a banking representative, customers want easy and immediate direct communication via their mobile device or desktop. The decade-long trend of local branch closure and the dramatic impact of Covid-19 has only heightened the need for effective remote communication. Being left alone to browse the bank’s website or to figure out how to use the banking app doesn’t cut it for many customers who want direct and immediate contact with a real person.

The promise of instant messaging

On the one hand messaging apps provide a powerful solution to this problem. A good messaging app allows an easy flow of conversation between a client and their banking representative or financial advisor. Customers can acquire information, authorize transactions, receive reminders and alerts, and seek financial advice, etc in real-time. Furthermore, messaging apps can provide additional features that enhance customer care. File-sharing allows the immediate and easy exchange of important documents. Push notifications mean customers receive timely notices for actions needed or updates on loan applications, bank balances, trade information, etc. Messaging apps can even incorporate functionality for in-app voice and video calling which further personalizes customer care and improves the customer experience.

The danger of new technology

However, there is also a very serious downside to reliance on third-party messaging apps. Banking and finance more than most other industries deal with highly sensitive data. Consequently, they operate under strict regulations. They are expected to know where their data sits and control who has access to it. Reliance on third-party apps leaves them vulnerable to legal and regulatory violations.

The serious risks posed by the use of messaging apps like WhatsApp have led some financial institutes to ban their use, such as Deutsche Bank AG in Switzerland in 2017. Understandably the bank’s decision highlighted the need to protect customer financial data, however, this functionality provided by messaging apps provides an exciting opportunity to enhance customer experience and build trust and brand loyalty. Messaging apps are here to stay and banks and financial institutions need to harness this technology to their own business advantage.

Developing a secure messaging app

To resolve these security and compliance issues, a growing number of banks and financial organizations are looking to build their own secure messaging apps, or to integrate secure messaging and chat API into existing banking apps. For this endeavor, they have needed to work with communication providers who are sensitive to their unique security needs.

The benefits of QuickBlox

QuickBlox is a complete communication backend with a proven track record of working with finance and banking. QuickBlox offers encrypted messaging and group chat, peer-to-peer and multiparty video calling, file sharing, and other functions accessible through SDKs and APIs. Their communication solutions are particularly geared for the finance and banking sector. Having worked with large global banks, wealth management companies, regional banks, and financial start-ups, they understand the regulatory requirements that banks work under. They have even built a ready solution, a virtual waiting room with teleconsultation to enable secure remote communication between customers and their financial consultants.

Private and secure messaging

Fully GDPR compliant, QuickBlox works closely with the financial organization’s info-security team and in accordance with international banking, standards provide communication solutions that guard against security and compliance breaches. They employ a series of data encryption and security protocols to ensure all chat and media files are secure (e.g. HTTPS protocol, Secure XMPP, Secure Bosh, and Secure WebSockets, etc)

Self-hosting software deployment

Just as importantly, QuickBlox can provide self-hosting options. They can deploy their software directly within the bank’s own private cloud or on-premise within the bank’s own servers and data center. QuickBlox self-hosting solutions mean that the bank or financial institution maintains total control over their customer’s data, preventing access from third parties. QuickBlox supports their software and communication needs, without accessing their data.

Conclusion: Secure messaging apps ensure improved customer relations in banking and finance

Banks and financial groups need to meet their customers’ growing expectations for immediate, direct, and personal contact via digital means. Rather than shying away from the potential risks involved with messenger apps, banks and financial institutions are better served to incorporate its key features into their own communication platform, creating responsive customer support in the process. Partnering with a communication provider like QuickBlox allows them access to all the communication features they require while ensuring that regulatory requirements are met through on-premise or private cloud installation and GDPR compliant communication solutions.

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