Innovations in Spend Management: Insights and actionability are key to supporting customers

This article is part of a VB Lab Insights series paid for by Capital One.

In the digital world, it’s easier than ever to spend. Thanks to tools like digital wallets and other online payment options, you can buy gifts from a favorite online retailer, pay a utility bill or secure last-minute concert tickets on your way to the venue, all with a few quick taps on your smartphone or laptop. It’s clear that the dramatic change in the e-commerce landscape over the past decade has successfully removed friction from the online shopping experience.

But with great power comes great responsibility. Shopping online has become incredibly convenient, but that also means it’s becoming more and more complicated for consumers to keep track of their finances. Who has your card number? Which number is stored where? Which purchases repeat and when? While we’re removing complexity at check-out, we’ve inadvertently added it elsewhere.

Historically across the financial services industry, consumers had to rely on monthly statements to get a holistic view of both their one-time purchases and recurring spending – which made sense when every purchase was an in-person scan. But now, consumers make dozens of transactions each month (in multiple ways), and this once-a-month, line-by-line view of transactions is no longer sufficient to support the ways we spend.

Consumers are demanding more from their financial institutions. They look to their financial institutions to proactively help them surface and act on the most relevant information and insights related to their financial accounts — before, during and after every purchase.

Focusing on the full life cycle of consumer spending

At Capital One, we work to provide our customers with a truly personalized, comprehensive and contextual view of their finances. Building on the shoulders of years of technology transformation and cloud data advancement, we’re launching AI and machine learning-driven tools at scale to enable customers to more easily facilitate and personalize their expense management routines.

As the industry continues to innovate in spend management, there are three main areas that should be considered in product development:

1. Proactively display the right information and provide transparency

The first step in helping customers better understand their finances is to highlight proactive and account information. This information—such as a recurring charge increase or a potential fraud alert—helps paint a more transparent, real-time view of their accounts. At the same time, it is equally important to offer customers the opportunity to independently explore their finances in a simple and understandable user interface. Here, customers can explore their own spending trends, such as recurring or upcoming charges for accounts and subscriptions, monthly changes to recurring charges, and more. At Capital One, these account management tools are delivered as enhancements to our mobile app and website, enabling customers to tap into a familiar resource in new and different ways.

2. Making financial information and tasks operational

Hand in hand with proactive insights are clear, readily available pathways for customers to take action. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve signed up for a free trial of a new streaming service. Capital One may detect that you have signed up for a free trial and proactively offer to notify you before the trial ends so that you can cancel your subscription before it becomes a paid subscription. This highly leveraged actionability puts control back in the hands of customers, in turn unlocking trust, control and easy-to-use customer experiences.

3. Keeping the customer front and center

Ensuring that customers are able to make sense of the vast amount of data that exists is critical. At Capital One, we keep the customer at the center of what we build, ensuring customers have access to the right information at the right time, ultimately helping them save time and money.

Spending management features are becoming increasingly desirable to consumers, especially given the impact of inflation and other financial issues that make tracking your finances even more important. With immediate or near-real-time access to spending information, consumers can make more informed decisions about their money and financial goals. We’re excited to be on the cusp of rolling out even more of these features for Capital One customers this year.

The bottom line

The way we spend online is evolving, and consumers deserve sophisticated tools to help them better manage it. Whether these tools help you spend more easily, make it easier to understand your spending history and trends, or empower you to take action to improve your finances, it’s an exciting time to explore the value they can provide the new tools and technologies. Everyone deserves a personalized experience — complete with valuable insights and actionability — that meets their specific banking needs.

And it can – and should – be in their hands.

Dan Van Winkle is Vice President of Spending Experiences at Capital One.

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