The future is bright for FinTech companies. Recent research shows global investment in FinTech is set to skyrocket. One of the reasons for this significant growth - customers are demanding new levels of technology (particularly mobile) capabilities from financial service providers. Specifically, FinTech companies differentiate from traditional financial services is by focusing on enhancing customer engagement and user experience. In order to succeed, pioneering FinTech companies are looking to incorporate augmented reality (AR).

Augmented Reality in a Nutshell

Augmented reality has seen the masses after the first VR solutions hit the market. Heated up by the success of the virtual version, AR started to evolve rapidly through various industries. A previously obscure market, it was worth $14.1 billion in 2017 and is predicted to soar up to $192.7 billion in 2022, according to Statista. Such market worth can’t be provided by only entertainment solutions, no matter how big the industry may be. Furthermore, the functionality of the tech can be way beyond fun. FinTech companies are seriously considering the AR opportunities in their business with some already heavily investing in the development of the solutions based on the technology. The term augmented reality (AR) is often confused with virtual reality (VR) or mixed reality (MR). Augmented reality involves a real-time view of the physical world around us, which is then improved or enhanced by digital information. Virtual reality meanwhile involves creating a simulated world, rather than our actual world around us. Mixed reality combines aspects from augmented reality and virtual reality, to let the user see the real world while also seeing virtual objects in a single display. Next, you can get familiar with the distinction of AR, VR, and MR:

AR (Augmented Reality)

Firstly, we see an example of augmented reality (and also wearable technology) in the Iron Man movie. Tony Stark uses a helmet with a heads-up display that has the capability to add information about locked-on objects, in this case, the Santa Monica Ferris wheel. The most common example of augmented reality is the QR code scanning tool. The device recognizes the patterns of the code and can interact with it, opening browser links, etc. The basic principle of AR is enhancing reality with computer-generated (CG) content. A viral mobile game Pokemon Go — is where AR could shine. It possible for the users to interact with their surroundings without the usual boundaries that each entertainment type (primarily gaming) can offer. Another trendy example is Snapchat (and other apps that apply filters to the faces in real-time). Millions of people have used it for their fun and pleasure. But the technology is capable of far better than just entertainment.

VR (Virtual Reality)

Secondly, an example of virtual reality can be seen with the aerospace company, Boeing, which uses a sophisticated virtual reality system called CRVS (Constant Resolution Visual System). It simulates a flying experience, while the pilot stays on the ground.

MR (Mixed Reality)

Thirdly, Mixed Reality can be illustrated with Microsoft’s new holographic headset. It maps your room and mixes holograms with the environment around you. It can be used to play Minecraft.

How Can FinTech Benefit from Augmented Reality Solutions

As a multi-billion market that is projected to snowball in the future, FinTech is a place where everyone is hoping to get an edge over an opponent. Augmented Reality can become the edge over competitors for companies that decide to use it. While we’re still in early stages in the development of the technology, there is a list of ways to gain leverage.

Data Visualization and Assessment

Being able to visualize data is an important tool for a trader to help make decisions about wealth management, especially as the financial industry becomes more complex and there is more data to analyze. AR and VR make it easier and faster to visualize and organize large amounts of data. Salesforce uses Oculus Rift to create an immersive 3D environment for analyzing data. FinTech can analyze a lot of experience from the experimental projects in other industries. Healthcare, for example, can benefit from AR greatly. Paramedics or surgeons can use the devices with augmented reality to view the body of the patient. Furthermore, they can get relevant information about conditions and previous cases in real-time. This brings an enormous advantage in the most critical situations and helps to make correct incisions and injections.

Virtual Trading

Some companies are making trading a virtual experience by creating virtual reality workstations for trading. Citi uses Microsoft HoloLens to give traders Holographic Workstations. This type of workstation offers 2D and 3D elements that add to the bank’s existing processes. Comarch uses virtual reality in its wealth management software to give users better access to algorithms and trading tools.

Virtual Reality Payments

Some companies are even making payments to a virtual experience. MasterCard has partnered with Wearality to create a world where consumers can make purchases without leaving the virtual world. They have a virtual reality golf experience called ‘Priceless’ and players are able to buy clothing in the virtual world, without having to do anything offline.

Security

In order to create a more secure customer experience, biometric security could be introduced in an AR system that could then connect with a VR world. These could be used to access VR bank services, make ATM transactions, or make payments.
Financial Education

For both employees and customers of financial institutions, education is important for understanding changes in financial systems. AR and VR have huge potential for teaching people new information in VR Finance.
Customer Service

Many financial institutions are also using AR and VR to help improve the experience of their customers. Many banks have AR apps that help customers find the nearest banks and ATMs. When in a city, they can scan the area with their phones and see real-time information about location, distance, and services at nearby banks. Some real estate firms have apps that allow customers to pass by and scan houses with their phones or tablets to get more detailed info about the property. Advanced options that we may see soon are mortgage calculators and 3D interiors in the AR environment.
Virtual Branches

Digital-only banks and mobile banks are already here. But someday soon we may be able to go to a virtual bank. If customers are not able to visit a physical branch location for whatever reason, there will soon be given the possibility to go to a virtual branch. The hope is that these branches will be able to provide the same services but exclusively in a VR environment. Not only is this experience helpful to customers, but it also reduces costs for banks as they no longer need to invest in physical locations.
Recruitment and Training

In order to provide high-quality services to customers, financial institutions need to make sure they are recruiting top talent and training all employees to give them skills that will help them do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Some banks are using a VR experience to show tech recruits how innovative and tech-savvy the bank is. Potential employees, as well as current employees, use this platform to form teams and create apps that will help the bank’s customers.
Customer Acquisition

Millennials are often talked about generation, as they have grown up in a very different world than their parents or grandparents. Because they are a generation that has grown up with technology, they view many systems differently than previous generations. In fact, according to figures from the Millennial Disruption Index, 73% of Millennials are looking to Google, PayPal, and Apple for financial products, as opposed to local banks. 33% feel that banks will not be necessary for the near future. Banks and other institutions looking to appeal to his group as well as the generations that follow are incorporating more technology, including AR and VR, into their systems in order to attract and retain customers. In addition, FinTech companies are focusing their efforts on adding to customer satisfaction. Virtual Reality, Extended Reality, and Augmented Reality contribute significantly to how easy the information is passed to a user. The convenience of the tech is especially vital with industries like banking, with its colossal customer pool and high-quality standards.

How Important Can Augmented Reality Become for FinTech

The AR (alongside VR, XR, and MR) can lift the industry a level and make a massive difference between those who use the tech and those who don’t. The companies can successfully utilize the tech for their internal purposes:

List of AR Benefits Areas in FinTech

The list will undoubtedly grow with the development of technology, but even now the companies can reap immense benefits from it. Training programs for the most challenging and most confusing positions can be conducted with ease and a higher rate of success. Managers and analysts can use it to communicate better and present information in the form that is comfortable for the other party. Employees will see all the essential information on the screens of their headsets and work without having to switch between tabs, layers, and projects. Customer experience is the key performance indicator for most businesses, especially those who operate on a digital basis. The users can already find the nearest ATMs and will be able to locate the items from their shopping list in a mall. This tech would increase the average level of satisfaction and therefore lead to higher conversion rates. In the nearest future, it would be common to see augmented reality solutions and hardware that supports them. But the fight for technology and customer base has started long ago. In the future, the main opportunity for augmented reality in FinTech will be with data visualization. While much of finance and trading is controlled by algorithms and automatic processes, as more data is consumed by computers, it has made it harder for humans to analyze what is going on. As a result, data visualization products aided by augmented reality will become increasingly popular.