Equinox Consulting

Innovation corner – Apple Watch in the conquest of the banking industry

Barbara Busi at 2015-08-17 in Le coin des innovations

Summary of presented offers


* Dates in 2015

** Output coinciding with the release of the Apple Watch

In line with the increasingly innovative connected devices on the market, connected watches have now made their way into the market and provide a different and complementary access to smartphone applications.

In 2014, the number of iOS and Android watches amounted to 190,000 (source: GFK), representing 30% of all connected devices sold in France. Will the arrival of Apple Watch or iWatch in 2015 disrupt the market, leading to an explosion in the number of compatible applications and reinforcing the cult around the Apple brand?

In every case, « Actio parit reactionem » (Action brings a reaction) and since its introduction, more and more companies, banks and insurers are embarking on the adventure, hoping to reach their customers through a new digital channel.

AppleWatch1Source Imore

While focusing on the French market, we can observe that the majority of French banks already offer an application on connected watches.

AppleWatch2Source BNPP

While Caisses d’Epargne stops at basic features (viewing of account and of the latest transactions), Société Générale, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa and CIC complement the service with the geolocation of ATMs, and BNP Paribas and Hello Bank offer chat services with a customer advisor. In France, only Banques Populaires stands out by targeting a different customer base, and offers a financial flow management tool via the « Suite Entreprise Watch » application.

On a global level, while the majority of the banks’ iWatch applications stop at basic options (Desjardins, Tesco Bank), some banking players stand out with some specific designed features for a more direct and simple usage on a watch screen. ING Bank enhances the security of bank cards by providing immediate access to card blocking and unblocking.

Citi bank enables a close monitoring of account transactions by sending alerts to customers when transactions are performed. Finally, the electronic fund transfer between accounts becomes accessible at finger tips via the CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) application.

Nevertheless, while more and more banks embark on adapting their application to the connected watch format, we can wonder whether it truly is a tool to capture and retain customers or simply a defensive strategy against competitors..

The digital era and the growing consumer demand push the banks towards continuous innovation. But it remains to be seen whether these innovations bring a real added value to the customer. For the moment, the non-identification of the user on the connected watch screen restricts the development of several features due to security issues; and the still weak sales on the market restrict the investments and consequently the creativity of the banking players. To be continued…

AppleWatch3Source Citi

Plus :

  • AXA, Banque Populaire, BNP Paribas and Arkéa are ready for the Apple Watch link
  • BNP Paribas: the « Mes Comptes » (my accounts) application now available on the Apple Watch link
  • Banque Populaire launches the first professional banking application on Apple Watch link


Barbara Barbara Busi  


Digital, Retail Banking & SFS

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