Taishin International Bank in Taiwan is a big beliver in technology. It used open application programing interfaces (APIs) to power ecosystem partnerships and keep customers close, winning it the Best Payment Innovation trophy at the the RBI Asia Awards 2021. Artifical intelligence (AI) was used to predict and drive customer behavior, thereby increasing product uptake, ATM usage, personalization and so forth. This helped it win the AI, ATM, and Loyalty/Rewards categories, as part of wider projects.
It’s a sad fact of life that everyone needs to pay bills. The application of modern technology and open APIs to create a simple and easy Taishin International Bank powered Bill-Pay ‘all-in-one’ service that links to utility firms; store cards; credit cards, regardless of the bank issuer; and so on has made the task much easier for customers in Taiwan.
Co-operation deals to provide the in-app payment functionality for the large Family Mart and OK Mart convenience store brands in Taiwan have helped gain traction for the nascent ecosystem. More merchants and participants are joining, expanding the Bill-Pay options and ecosystem.
Application programming interfaces (APIs) have always been used in the technology sector to enable data migrations from one IT server to another or to allow banks to connect – for instance, via the SWIFT correspondent banking network. But these APIs were fully or partially ‘closed’. When they are more fully open – sometimes with local minimum security standards for participants, depending on local regulations – then the link they can offer to other data sources and their aggregating power is amplified.
Open APIs can power the seamless connected experience that modern customers want, powering an ecosystem that connects to the ‘one app to rule them all’ philosophy that many businesses’ aspire to. If you think about the Uber app, for instance, then the model becomes clear. It can link to Google Maps’ service and integrates payment, metering, data and other services into a coherent single app to deliver its service. Its ecosystem can then span out to offer home food delivery options, for instance, or other such end use examples for its connective technology. Why can’t a bank do something similar? A bank can connect payment, shopping, balance updates, bill pay and other financial services all into an aggregated app if it builds an ecosystem of partners – and others certainly will do so if banks don’t prioritize the customer experience (CX) in this way.
Taishin has done this in Taiwan, thereby earning its trophy. By offering its bank grade identity authentication, payment transaction authorization, and other such secure services on partners’ apps it truly becomes embedded into consumers’ everyday lives – and retains their flow and engagement in the face of potential competition from fintech-enabled newcomers.
Banks that don’t build an ecosystem could find themselves losing adherents as the model almost becomes a ‘license to operate’ demand from time-poor consumers who don’t want numerous different apps, online check-ins and multiple other conflciting financial channels in their lives. They just want one app with an ecosystem and assoicated easily accessible payment system.
Taishin also has the TOPP: Taishin Omni-Payment Platform in its toolkit, earning it further support for its RBI Awards’ Payment trophy and Best Loyalty / Rewards Strategy recognition. It links digital wallet providers and gives a route for merchants to easily accept mobile payments into their business. The ecosystem includes local, global and regional players like GooglePay, SamsungPay, TaiwanPay, Line and so on, all reachable by merchants using the open APIs built into TOPP’s flexible and easily customizable IT architecture. The solution eliminates the expense and hassle of linking separately to the numerous different operators. It also means that merchants can add their own data services, join or amplify bank-run Reward / Loyalty Programs, add alert services and dial-up other add-ons to keep customers loyal and engaged.
AI technology deployment
The trophy that Taishin won for its Trailblazing Use of AI in FS was given for an Artifical Intelligence customer prediction model the bank built last year, which has been deployed to ensure a consistent multi-channel experience, stengthen its data mining capabilities, and assist in decisioning and pricing considerations. It has been rolling out across the bank’s diverse operations, including into the ATM channel where it helped Taishin win a further trophy in the Best ATM & Self-Service Innovation category. The ability to predict and initially offer a customers’ usual ATM action as their first on-screen choice enhances their experience, while presenting favorable fees for particular actions can drive volume and sales. Personalization can present unpaid bill or tax reminders – or, more happily, festival or anniversary reminders as well.
An AI-powered Personalized Recommedation Platform uses internal structured data from accounts, allied to external ‘big data’ on the internet and social media, to calculate customer’s financial preferences, price tolerances, and so on. This ensures precise marketing, improved engagement and ultimately sales. For example, ATM transactions rose 6% in 2020 in what is a declining segment and revenues rose because of an increase in the success rate of product sale attempts. Better targeting at the optimum time, delivered better results.
The AI technology is across Taishin’s digital estate and other channels, assisting the card and other lines-of-business. The AI model is based on the Transformer algorithm that has been popular with Facebook, Tesla and others exploring the uses of so-called Deep Learning, which can help in the processing of sequence data especially in regard to natural language processing. NLP can power chatbots, voice recognition, human-to-machine automation efficiency, and so on. For example, Taishin has for many years had a chatbot called ‘Rose’ that has been helping end users for years and which continues to expand its capabilities. Benefits include:
- Customer satisfaction is up 27% as the bank personalizes and optimizes procedures for specific users.
- Response rates are up from 21% to 51%.
- The number of products held by customers has doubled & tranaction rates are up.
- Traditional insurance sales have trebled.
- Taishin International Bank were also HC: Highly Commended in the following categories at the Retail Banker International (RBI): Asia Trailblazer Awards 2021, which were held virtually on 7 October: Excellence in Omni-Channel Integration; Excellence in Customer-Centricity; Excellence in Mobile Banking and Dynamic Third-Party Collaboration.