During 2020, most financial institutions were forced to make a massive digital shift to better supply their customers due to the Coronavirus. Customers were no longer able to bank in person or handle their financial situations in person. As 2021 is quickly approaching, digital is the theme for this upcoming year. The digital experience will transform technology, innovation, and data now more than ever.

Financial institutions should be proud of how they handled COVID-19 this past year to respond to consumer needs faster than ever before. With so much being developed this past year in the financial services industry with digital engagement, innovation for internal and external processes, products, data, and more, 2021 will improve each financial institution. Each organization will need to embrace the transformation of digital for future competitiveness. Here are 4 trends financial institutions should watch for in 2021:

1. Digital innovation is growing

Financial institutions had plenty of pressure in 2020 to create fast, simple, and efficient digital experiences for their customers. These institutions can expect to apply more significant stress to the digital services they offer to enhance user experiences (UX) for a successful customer journey. Organizations should determine what matters to their customers and for the company as a whole, and then prioritize efforts to train employees to deliver the best tools to customers for a great experience.

2. Financial app usage

According to a report from Statista, financial app usage has grown immensely globally. Japan has increased this usage to 55%, South Korea to 35%, China and the United States 20%, and Germany and Italy to 15%. It’s anticipated that these numbers will keep increasing, and financial institutions will need to keep developing innovative technology.

3. Increasing security

Mobile banking is at the tip of anyone’s fingertips. Cybercrime is prevalent today, so it’s critical financial institutions take all the necessary measures to protect their customer’s data. Biometrics is the best way to give confidence to customers that their data is protected. Contactless methods of identification are bound to take over, while physical processes will decrease.

4. Data and AI for predictive analytics

In 2021, data and artificial intelligence (AI) will bring a new, substantial evolution of marketing and creating a strong customer experience by personalization. Accenture found that 48% of consumers abandoned purchase processes when the website did not customize the experience to them, and 91% are more likely to do business with brands they know and look out for rewards from them. Keeping the journey customized and personalized to the consumer will be a vital factor for success in 2021.

For financial institutions to be successful in 2021, there must be strong communication between all organization areas to create a great customer experience. The foundation of the digital transformation of data, analytics, and innovation is imperative for the entire organization to succeed. 2021 will be exciting for the financial services industry with many changes and being pushed outside of comfort zones.