Jeremy Nicholds – formerly Head of Mobile at VISA and SVP of Sales and Marketing at Mastercard – gives his thoughts on how significant the payment alerts mandate is for banks and customers:

The mandating of payment alerts represents a positive move to satisfy customer expectations in 2017. Millennials and beyond now expect instant access to services via mobile, as well as the ability to customise those services to their needs. Banks have made inroads on offering mobile functionality, progressing from simple balance-checking apps to offerings that include payments, statements and more – but there is a major omission. With few exceptions, these apps do not allow any type of customisation or control over the account’s debit and credit cards.

Over three-quarters of retail spending in the UK is by debit or credit card. Yet if consumers want to cancel, activate, limit or otherwise exert some form of control over their cards, they need to phone their bank – if the functionality is offered at all. A smarter, ideal offering would allow the cardholder to temporarily freeze their card, to choose which destinations it could be used in when going on holiday, to apply retailer restrictions and to control whether the card could be used online, or only at bricks-and-mortar stores and ATMs – not to mention parental controls, customised alerts and personalised spending limits. All from their phone, in real-time.

The use of complex legacy systems is part of the reason why the big banks have been slow to build this functionality into their digital offerings, despite the obvious relevance to how consumers use their cards. The lack of those systems is also why challenger banks and other banks of the future are poised to offer and evolve this type of functionality far more quickly.

But with the right cloud offering the big banks can offer this service without touching their legacy systems. They need to act before being forced to do so – VISA have made transaction alerts mandatory in the US, and Mastercard will follow suit in March. Meanwhile, challenger banks are pushing the envelope in terms of controls. For major banks, it’s time to act to give consumers the rich, detailed controls and personalisation that they expect.

Payment alerts are more than the sum of their parts – they’re just one component of the wider revolution coming to consumer credit and debit cards.

Understand why the mandate is happening, and what it means.

We examine the increased opportunities for customer engagement and research that transaction alerts offer – and why the mandate is big news for banks seeking to add genuine value for their customers.