Tweet, post and bank socially!

By archanavasudevan | April 1, 2015

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Ever eyed your neighbourhood bank closely of late? They’ve stopped counting, processing and deducting, or whatever else that it is they do behind their cozy little counters and strong rooms. They’ve started posting, tweeting and pinning instead!

Initially, social media was where banks hooted and scooted. Or, advertised and vaporized, if you will. No longer! With banks looking for new avenues to engage their customers effectively, the growing prominence of social media has led to a few banks logging in to ‘social banking’.

Gen Y, which swears by (and on) social media, are a natural audience. Thus, in the space of a decade, banks have partially unpinned their total reliance on brick-and-mortar model, relying instead more and more on a click-on-avatar paradigm.

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have been in the Indian market for quite some time now and banks have been vying for opportunities to establish tie-ups with them. Private sector banks have seen an increase in online transactions and have been investing in mobile and social media banking services, aiming to consolidate all types of payment channels.

Taking this a notch higher, banks like ICICI and Kotak Mahindra have come up with excellent ways of banking via Twitter and Facebook respectively, engaging the tech savvy urban population.

Real-time banking on social media

KayPay, a fund transfer service from Kotak Mahindra Bank in collaboration with Facebook enables a customer to efficiently manage accounts and transfer funds before you can say “Like”. The KayPay payment process works on the IMPS platform and customers need to register for this service, associating themselves with their bank accounts.

As a major player in the private banking sector, ICICI recently launched ICICIbankpay, a Twitter-based service where customers can transfer funds, check their account balances, recharge prepaid mobiles and get their last three bank transactions using their Twitter handle. Customers have to subscribe to this service by registering and following the ICICI bank’s Twitter handle. The payment platform uses NEFT or RTGS for money transfers.

If this isn’t putting fun back into business, what is?

Have Indian banks really logged on?

Banking is about establishing personal relationships with customers. What better way to do this than on a social platform? Networking sites help banks to stay socially connected as well as enhance their customer engagement.

In India, financial institutions have stuck to being old school and are reluctant to break ranks. One possible reason for this wariness could be the instant brickbats that customers would pummel them with if service were anything short of perfect.

That social media is easily accessible on smartphones doesn’t help either – users are just one click away from triggering an avalanche of critiques round the clock.

Growing their ‘Friends’ list

Banks need to bite the bullet and embrace social media unconditionally – being socially active only improves their global visibility and positions them as first-movers in the future world of business on social media.

Social media needs constant participation and banks using networking strategies need to equip their employees with the know-how of social media banter.

Though social media marketing does not require a huge capital investment, banks in India have only recently come to grips with the huge advantages that social media brings to their world. The Reserve Bank of India on its part has been constantly encouraging banks to be more active in putting the smile back in a customer’s smiley.

With ease comes the question of safety. How secure and safe is transferring money on a publicly accessible platform? This is something that will cross every customer’s mind while doing transactions via Twitter or Facebook. Bluntly put, it is the customer’s money at stake here.

Arming their banking services with high-level encryptions and security against cyber-attacks may be temporary solutions but Indian banks need to maintain constant vigil on transactions done by customers, safeguarding their clientele even as they pre-empt threats and issues.

Indian banks looking to foray into the highly competitive social media market should definitely make ‘friends’ first, ‘broadcast’ themselves and then ‘bank’ with their customers.

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