Is crypto convenient to use, and if so, would more consumers adopt the technology? The relentless quest for greater customer convenience in financial services is changing the way we manage our money entirely.
Leveraging major insight into the crypto industry, here Todd Crosland explains how this culture change has transformed the banking sector and what it means for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Crosland is the CEO of CoinZoom, a next-generation digital asset exchange that offers services in buying, selling, and spending Bitcoin, Ethereum, and over 40 top digital currencies.
CoinZoom is a US registered Money Services Business with FinCen in all 50 states and territories. CoinZoom is also a US registered Money Transmitter, available for trading in 48 states.
Convenience is key to the modern customer
Convenience has become a central consideration for consumers in the digital era. While it may have once seemed convenient to buy a product at a reasonable price on the way home from work or at a local store, for example, the advent of new technologies means that consumers now expect to be able to pay for goods at the click of a button anytime, anywhere.
In the financial services space, core services such as payments have become a particular focus area for challenger banks and fintechs seeking to meet the demand for convenience. Against this backdrop, many incumbent players have also stepped up their game to remain competitive by offering their customers simple and easy-to-access services.
The adoption of digital banking services has subsequently skyrocketed. Customers now regularly perform such tasks as depositing checks, sending money and investing via their phones. A recent survey found that 70 per cent of the US public use their mobiles as the primary way to access their bank accounts. This transition has been accelerated by the pandemic, with Wells Fargo revealing that in 2020 alone, it saw a 50 per cent growth in online wire transfers.
The shift towards digital banking represents a wider change in attitude towards putting the customer first, driven by the emergence of innovative start-ups delivering services traditionally only offered by banks.
Crypto: an industry playing catch-up on convenience?
While the digitisation of financial services has paved the way for a new era of more efficient and convenient banking, the cryptocurrency industry continues to lag behind in usability and integration with the broader payments infrastructure.
Although global usage of cryptocurrencies jumped 800 per cent in 2021, investing in and exchanging crypto is still not as widely understood as traditional banking or fiat services, and the ability to use it to pay for goods and services remains highly limited.
Bitcoin ATMs for example, charge high transaction fees of up to 20 per cent and can take up to 15 minutes to complete a transaction. Moreover, the anonymity allowed when using them means that they have become a serious target for money laundering and fraud. Depositing money into a crypto investment account can also be complex and costly.
Bringing crypto up to speed
If crypto is to realise its full potential and play a major role in the future of our financial system, paying for goods and services using crypto should be just as easy as fiat currency.
This means harnessing the appropriate technology to integrate cryptocurrencies into the existing monetary infrastructure. Enabling cryptocurrency payments via debit card, for example, bypasses the cumbersome process of manually exchanging crypto for fiat currencies to pay for goods and services.
Providing consumers with the ability to spend crypto in a manner they are accustomed to – either in-store or online, as well as to make cash withdrawals through ATMs – is a huge driver for the further mass adoption of digital currencies.
Convenience and usability are also key in the crypto investment workflow. It’s important to remember that although the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum are the dominant cryptocurrencies, a myriad of alternatives are available to consumers. This can make the crypto market a seemingly complex space that many still do not fully understand.
Offering consumers who are looking to get into the crypto space an easy-to-use, transparent and secure market to trade, buy and send crypto is critical to making the crypto market more convenient and, ultimately, accessible to all.
Cryptocurrencies offer many potential benefits over fiat currencies, including better speed and efficiency in processing payments and transfers – most notably across borders – and boosting financial inclusion. But their pace of adoption is reliant on technology services that deliver these benefits to the widest pool of end-users possible.
It is at the intersection of innovation and convenience where forward-thinking technology providers are providing the catalyst for the full integration of cryptocurrencies across the global financial services infrastructure.