By 2021, nearly three billion users will access retail banking services via smartphones, tablets, PCs and smart watches — up 53 per cent from this year. The figures are contained in a study by Juniper Research.

According to research author Nitin Bhas, “Technology is currently the big differentiator for all types of banks, including traditional banks and the so-called challenger banks. Investments in banking technology reached record levels in 2016 and traditional banks are expected to focus on digital transformation initiatives.”

The study found that usage will continue to rise as consumers increasingly opt for banks offering the convenience of rapid, multi-channel digital services. This means that banks will need to focus on providing a more frictionless digital experience to their customers if they are to remain market leaders.

Juniper’Digital Transformation in Banking Readiness Index analysed leading global tier-1 banks, to evaluate their digital transformation readiness scores and highlight their respective positioning within the digital innovation roadmap.

It identified the leading banks for digital transformation in the sector as Banco Santander, Bank of America, Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Citi, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, RBS, Société Générale, UniCredit and Wells Fargo.

The new research, Retail Banking: Digital Transformation & Disruptor Opportunities 2017-2021, found that traditional banks have so far been a step behind in delivering innovation and maintaining their competitive edge against new fintech players, but the situation is gradually changing.

Juniper predicted that in 2017, big banks will acquire challenger players including tech startups and digital-only banks, and this will further accelerate the rollout of traditional players’ digital strategy.

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