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Banksquare: the new sharing service from your bank

We've talked a lot about how banks are behind the mark when it comes to social media.

As regularly lamented on the Finanser, the lack of any blogging from any major high street bank in the UK is a shame.

And most banks use Facebook and Twitter just for PR and marketing purposes.

There's hardly any real customer engagement here for dialogue with the bank.

No wonder I called the social media book we recently released: Socialising the Antisocial Bank – Converting the antisocial bank by digitally connecting with customers to become part of their community.

But even with all this discussion about social finance, there's little happening in the UK amongst mainstream banks in this field.

This will change though and, when it does, all of them will be in there facebooking and twittering and blogging.

So let's shake things up a bit and look at the next generation of bank statement.

How exciting can that be?

Well a lot more exciting than it is today.

Here's my bank statement online:


Boring isn't it?

It's even worse on the mobile:

IPhone app 1

A year ago, I talked about integrating Google maps into bank statements.

A year later, my bank statements are just as boring as ever.

It just goes to show that all the bank did is take the old paper statement and replicate it.

Dull, dull, dull.

And they're not very informative either.

Telling me I used an ATM or POS, or giving me confusing statements that don't give insight is not impressive in this information age, especially when banks are meant to be in the information business.

For example, like most other folks, I spend half my time wondering whether I really used that ATM or trying to work out whose paid what to me and who hasn't.

Then I go into my social world and it's gone one step beyond basic transaction services.

In Foursquare I can find out where all my mates are and what they're doing …


And in Blippy, I can see what they're buying and where …


At some point, banks will incorporate these features into their services, and it would be pretty simple to do.

For example, on my bank's iPhone app it would just be adding geo-locators for each transaction:

IPhone app

And if I clicked on any transaction therefore, I would see the location of the purchase plus any related information …


Potentially even seeing overlays of information, with feeds coming into my bank statement of related activities found in Facebook and Twitter, and special offers, discounts, coupons and more …


Ah well, one day … 


Meanwhile, if you are a banker and want to know more about Foursquare and Blippy, watch the videos below.

Foursquare introduction



Blippy introduction



About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here…

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  • Chris … (I know you know this) Brit banks are owned by the George Brown government. The concept of the new bureaucrats speaking to customers ain’t gonna happen.

  • I think some of this is going into the new book Chris 🙂

  • Whilst it may not be visible at the moment thinking along these lines is happening amongst the high street banks and it will not be that long before examples like yours are seen.

  • Ralph Oppel

    Hi Chris,
    Many of your articles are interesting because with strategic and intellectual thinking ahead. But honestly, I can’t see why my bank statement should have access to Google, Twitter, and the like. I don’t want it on my printed statement and not on the mobile statement. And why should I see on my bank statement where my “friends” are just spending their money or where the shop is where I spent 1,20 last week? That implies that others can see where I am just spending my money, too. On one hand we are moaning about the privacy of our life going bust and on the other hand you’re advocating just that. Where in your recommendations is the value date of the transaction, where is the available balance as opposed to the booked balance, where is the information / warning “this week you have already spent nn GBP”? Where is the financial education of the average bank account and statement user – I can’t see anything of that, and that would really be much more important than creating rubbish and futile requirements for bank statements. We have seen enough of creating artificial needs on the mobile (and elsewhere) for the manipulable folks. A bank statement is not a playground. When do we start to educate the people and get them to understand that life is more than fun and playing on the mobile (and spending money)?
    Roro, former international bank department and SWIFT manager (developed the 940 and 700 message sets from the banking requirements aspect, i.e. for REAL needs).

  • Paul P

    Progression without progress. Linking data is where the action is going to be, but retracing ones expenses may only be attractive for natural born accountants.
    The intriguing one is the “Life Ins” entry.. Does this mean your life insurance has become aware of geo-location, demographics, crime rates by time of day, the nature of the accumulative expenses upto then and then applies a series of event-based extra charges if you use a cash dispenser where there may be a heightened chance of being mugged, because you’re holding a plastic bag and a suitcase in one hand, while having slower reflexes as you’ve just visited a restaurant?

  • From someone who has never been involved in any SWIFT project, this would be *really* useful. I’m constantly looking at my bank statement and wondering “what the hell was I doing when I spent that money?”. Linking to locations would be superb.
    Naturally there are privacy issues when sharing transaction details, but if someone wants to do this then why not help them!

  • john Mckee

    This is all well and good for the digital natives and the Untethered Banking generation , however the most profit is made from the Traditionalists who still have branch relationships , client managers and cheque books. They dont want to fund the investment in new channels , they want less expensive banking and better service thru the existing communications

  • Chris Skinner

    I am not going to respond to individual comments here, as I think this flow speaks for itself … just wanted to say that this is great commentary, and appreciate all of it.

  • Chris- this is good fun, but I think flipping this sideways may be best– a statement is a regulated function required of banks. They are important for customers for only 3 purposes- 1) tell what payment is due, when 2) provide all details regarding transactions / fees (eg how points did I earn, and/or little fees did the bank charge), and 3) just in case there’s a dispute- fraud, wrong amount or otherwise. Banks have prioritized online enrollment to decrease costs & paper, while also leveraging these statements for advertising to generate revenue and reinforce product/brand value to offset the increasing costs to prodxe.
    Meanwhile, customers are utilizing more PFM type solutions to manage their financial lives– across multiple banks and all their needs- paying bills, purchasing (goods/services), save and invest. All transactions are summarized and classified and can be personalized. The big players are Yodlee, Mint, Cash Edge & Bundle. This offers more utility and value than one bank, statement at a time.
    Several progressive banks are integrating PFM for their customers with the ability to link other accounts. To me, the interesting pursuit is how to make your statement ideas multiple-bank– locations, merchants and “you” vs “everyone”. This would be Holy Grail for contextual offers to influence future spend behavior.
    The reality is that Banks need to play offense to change the game on customer information/reporting while continuing to have a decent defense regarding good ‘ol statements. The challenge today is how to prioritize and deliver both on a limited budget. I believe bold leadership committed to sustained innovation is the only answer.

  • Helena Lundgren

    Hi Chris!
    My name is Helena and me and my fried Frida are currently writing a master thesis on future bank-communities commissioned by Uppsla University in Sweden, and the consulting company Logica. Your thoughts on that would be very valuable for us and therefore I wonder if we by any chance could interview you through Skype some day in the end of February or the beginning of Mars?
    / Helena