The Rise of the New Bank Account?

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12 September 2013

The Quest for Transactional Account Primacy


The core bank account has long been a cornerstone of banks’ relationships with their customers. In this report Celent asserts that the core bank account must evolve to maintain its relevance in the digital world.

In the past, bank account relationships, combined with payment cards, have enabled banks to be the dominant providers of transaction services to their customers. Today banks’ leadership position in providing card and payment transaction services is under threat, primarily from two sources: regulation and competition.

In The Rise of the New Bank Account? The Quest for Transactional Account Primacy, Celent briefly recaps the threats to the cards business and examines emerging threats to the core bank account. The report also reviews how banks have been responding to date.

The report poses a crucial question: In the not too distant future, will the “new bank account” need to have the following capabilities?

  • Support for multiple value tokens, including virtual currencies, miles, coupons, and loyalty points. The bank becomes the trusted custodian of value, both monetary and nonmonetary.
  • Full transactional capability: all types of payment use cases directly from a bank account. Letting customers fund purchases either with money or other value tokens, such as coupons and points, or any combination of the above.
  • Highly contextual services: making use of the ubiquitous push/pull mobile device that is always in the consumer’s hand to deliver highly personal, tailored, and contextual services: information, advice, merchant offers, etc.

“Banks have to consider many issues before building these new capabilities, such as, how to manage tensions between new and old sources of value, and what would happen if mobile payments were to lead to fragmentation and re-emergence of the domestic payment solutions,” says Zilvinas Bareisis, Senior Analyst with Celent’s Banking Group and author of the report. “However, we strongly believe that the core bank account must evolve to maintain its relevance in the digital world.”