Financial Future: 2019 trends round-up

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From cryptocurrency to artificial intelligence, there’s been a lot of buzz about technology and its impact on the financial services industry over the last year. But what do these changes mean for the average Atlantic Canadian consumer? Will bitcoin be making its way into the mainstream? Are the days of in-branch banking behind us?

We sat down to chat with Carrie Forbes, Director of Strategic Engagement and Innovation at League Data—the cooperative IT company responsible for our online banking platform and all things digital—for the answers. These are the top financial trends you need to know about for 2019.

Easier transactions with AI

As the banking industry has evolved, so has the role of financial institutions. Customers are ultimately looking for solutions to make their lives easier—and that has meant investing in artificial intelligence.

“The second generation of chatbots are smarter,” explains Carrie. “They’re enabled by machine learning and AI. It means you can talk to your smart speaker from the comfort of home and ask it to transfer funds. The evolution of chatbots is something we’ll be seeing a lot more of in 2019.”

In-person connections still matter

But just as we’re investing more in technology, there’s still no substitute for human connection. The introduction of robotic banking doesn’t mean the end of in-branch financial experts—quite the opposite according to Carrie. It may even help create deeper in-person connections.

“Automation is about augmenting people, not replacing them,” she says. “It allows financial institutions to eliminate busy work for staff and focus on the things that matter most—building relationships, giving advice, and solving problems.”

Next steps for cryptocurrency

In a year marked by disruptive technology, cryptocurrencies took up a lot of the spotlight in 2018. But where do they fit in the market in 2019? With price values looking less volatile, Carrie tells us that the crypto train isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

“We’re beginning to see the institutionalization of many cryptocurrency companies—they’re partnering with bigger businesses in order to tap into the mainstream. It’s become more regulated and even the banks are dipping their toes in. Blockchain technology is a trend to watch in 2019—but bitcoin won’t become the de facto currency anytime soon!”

Staying safe with better cyber security

In our digital obsessed world, it’s no surprise that the number one trend Carrie wants Atlantic Canadians to pay attention to is all about personal cyber security. After a year of breaches, expect to see more products and services focused on data protection in 2019.

“With everything moving to the cloud and our focus on mobile—phishing is becoming very common. A text message can look like it’s coming from your financial institution or the government. With social media, we share so much about ourselves online—education and awareness of the risks is key. We need to protect ourselves and think about the information that we’re sharing online.”

Have questions about data protection and how you can stay safe online? Curious about the evolution of online banking or the basics of cryptocurrency? Check out our list of links below for a few more details.

And, for more information about how technology can make managing your money easier, contact your local credit union.