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Customer experience 02 Sep 2019

How to create personalized, global saving experiences through data

BBVA has a global program designed to create personalized, data-driven experiences to cater for the individual saving needs of its customers, either through recommendations, advice or proactive steps. After launching this kind of solution in Spain and Mexico, BBVA is now working to bring this program to the other countries in which it operates.

“We already offer data- and artificial intelligence-driven digital saving solutions in both Spain and Mexico, and soon more features will be available in Turkey and other countries,” explains Begoña Codes, global head of BBVA’s ‘Help Customers Save’ program.

In keeping with BBVA’s strategy of deploying its digital banking solutions in an increasingly global and unified manner, the Help Customers Save program was developed in such a way that it could also be implemented in other countries, and it is now beginning to transcend new borders. At the end of the year, some of these solutions will be introduced to Garanti BBVA and, over the course of 2020, they will be introduced to new regions.

The aim of this global program is to make BBVA a trusted advisor to its customers, a “digital coach” that supports them in the day-to-day management of their finances, as well as in making financial decisions at key moments in their lives. Handling everyday expenses without going overdrawn to make it to the end of the month and setting aside sufficient savings to be able to cope with unforeseen events are some of people’s biggest stress triggers. “And we know that we can make it easier for folks by simply integrating these features into the same app that they’re already using for everyday transactions,” Begoña adds.

Saving Tools in Spain

The program has gone through different stages in Spain and it continues to evolve to this day. Together with Bconomy, a tool in the BBVA app that analyzes customers’ financial health, users can access My Day-to-Day, which is a tool that allows them to view their income and expenses, sorted into categories and subcategories, so that they know where their money is going every month. What’s more, they can also access Expected Transactions, which offers a forecast of financial transactions in the coming months based on past activity and habits, so that users can plan ahead and have better control of their finances.

Until recently, however, customers did not have tools designed to translate this advice and information into concrete actions. This is where “Program your Account” comes in. This solution was recently launched in Spain and enables customers to set rules that will help them achieve their goals simply and effortlessly.

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The aim of this global program is to make BBVA a trusted advisor to its customers, a "digital coach" that supports them in the day-to-day management of their finances.

With this tool, users can customize and set up six rules that will automatically perform certain day-to-day management tasks on their personal finances. One of these is known as ‘Account rounding,’ which was specially developed to help customers save effortlessly, as it allows them to round the amount of every card transaction up to the nearest euro; this sum is then automatically deposited in a savings account. This is the digital equivalent of keeping your change in a jar: you save the change leftover from each purchase.

Thanks to these kinds of solutions, which will gradually include more and more options, customers simply have to choose which saving method best suits them, and the transactions take place automatically.

Financial health in Mexico

BBVA Mexico has also made smart saving options available to its customers. In March 2017, the bank incorporated a tool into its application that provides customers with a clear picture of their financial health, which includes their current account balance, monthly deposits, expenses incurred, investments made, payments on loans, and money available. With this feature, users are assigned one of four possible ratings: excellent, healthy, stable and critical, along with recommendations on how to maintain or improve their financial health.

“The goal is to provide guidance to customers by making recommendations and by providing each customer with customized tools”

In March 2019, this feature was improved to incorporate BBVA’s new image, as well as new variables that strengthen how financial health is calculated, such as customers’ loan repayment behaviors, their level of debt at other financial institutions, and their use of insurance as a prevention tool, among others. The tool also includes an explanation of the main factors that influence customers’ financial health. “We’re trying to build relationships with our customers based on trust. We help them make informed decisions when they need us to, so that they can choose the product that best helps them,” explains Carlos S. González, who manages the product in Mexico.

The goal is to provide guidance to customers by making recommendations and by providing each customer with customized tools and follow-up if they follow those recommendations. “By being able to access our resources on their cell phones, customers can receive timely support in organizing and managing their income, as well as any expenses and payments they have to make, more easily. As such, we help them to continually save so that they can achieve their goals, meet their targets, nurture the equity that they are consolidating and responsibly use credit in their favor, if necessary,” he adds.

More customization on the horizon

The goal is for these tools to become increasingly more customized for each customer in order to offer individualized saving and forecasting experiences that fit the habits, needs and financial situation of each person and each country. “Program your account’ is one initial example of the kind of solutions we want to continue to develop globally. These solutions go a step further and offer customers proactive measures that can have a direct impact on their saving capacity thanks to automation,” explains Begoña Codes.

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BBVA Mexico has also made smart saving options available to its customers.

In this sense, ‘Program your account’ is one of the first elements in BBVA’s strategy to create ‘autonomous’ or ‘self-driven’ banking experiences, in which we are working closely with the BBVA Artificial Intelligence Factory to customize automatic saving options. Thanks to these types of mechanisms, customers will be able to choose when it is most convenient to move money from their account into a savings account in a way that fits their needs, whether that be periodically every month, on payday or in another way to enable to meet particular goals, such as creating a financial buffer or a retirement plan.

In Turkey, for example, Garanti BBVA is working on a feature that will allow customers who finish paying fees associated with a loan or credit to redirect that same amount every month to a savings account. “The idea is to provide customers with a tailor-made option that doesn’t require any extra effort, as they are already accustomed to allocating a certain amount each month to pay this debt, but now this all goes toward savings,” explains Codes.

This “extra layer” of customization for data-driven saving experiences will be made available to customers as one of several features and products to be launched in 2020 across various regions. Such features and products include offering loan and refinancing options that are specific each customer’s needs, automatic cost control measures based on budgets, and automated options for postponing payments.

“By using data, we can estimate when customers are putting in more effort than usual, which makes it difficult for them to manage their personal finances and, based on this information, we can offer them personalized plans to modify the payments that they are making so that it is easier for them to reach the end of the month without stressing,” Codes adds.

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