(my) Digital Banking Dilemma: Belgium's Struggle vs. Asia's Triumph

(my) Digital Banking Dilemma: Belgium's Struggle vs. Asia's Triumph

Brussels, Oct. 21, 2023

In the realm of digital banking, Belgium finds itself in a peculiar maze, marked by frustrations and missed turns. While Asia soars in the digital banking skies, Belgium seems to be navigating a labyrinth of limitations. This tale of two regions offers a revealing look into the diverging paths of digital banking. Let’s embark on a journey through Belgium’s digital banking landscape, analyze its features, and then voyage to Asia to draw comparisons.

Belgium’s Digital Banking Maze: Where Frustration Meets Innovation

Belgium’s foray into digital banking is not without merit. There have been strides towards innovation and convenience. However, customers often find themselves at the crossroads of frustration due to several factors:

  1. Limited Features and Integration:
    • Belgian digital banking apps often lack comprehensive features. Users face limitations in budgeting tools, investment options, and seamless integrations with other financial services.
    • 💡
      Which explains why we're seeing so many initiatives and new apps combining asset management, budgeting and sometimes even a touch of sustainable development awareness. But rather than a complete ecosystem, we're still stuck in a closed environment that's wallowing in its shortcomings.

      Do I need to mention the number of Belgian banks that still don't allow payment via Payconiq, one of the standard systems that attempts to standardise and facilitate transactions between users? Or that don't offer the possibility of making payments via QR-Code (Keytrade, Aion, etc. - we see you).

      Payconiq mobile app screenshots
      Payconiq mobile app screenshots
  2. User Experience Hurdles:
    • The user interface and experience (UI/UX) in some Belgian banking apps are clunky and outdated, making navigation and transactions less intuitive than desired.
  3. Slow Adoption of Fintech Innovations:
    • Compared to Asia, Belgium has been slower in adopting cutting-edge fintech solutions, such as advanced AI-driven customer service or blockchain-based security enhancements.
  4. Regulatory Constraints:
    • Strict regulatory frameworks in Belgium sometimes hinder the rapid development and deployment of innovative digital banking solutions.

Asia’s Digital Banking Nirvana: A Leap Into the Future

Embarking on a journey to Asia's digital banking landscape is like stepping into a futuristic realm where technology and finance converge in the most spectacular fashion. In this digital utopia, countries like China, Singapore, and South Korea are not just at the forefront of banking innovation; they are redefining it.

Take for instance, China's WeBank, which, as of early 2023, boasts over 200 million customers, leveraging big data and AI to offer personalised financial services. Its success lies in its ability to integrate cutting-edge technologies like blockchain, ensuring security and efficiency in every transaction. Then there's Singapore's DBS Bank, celebrated for its digital transformation, offering a mobile banking app that serves over 4.5 million users, and is renowned for its user-friendly interface and robust functionalities. In South Korea, KakaoBank, with its staggering user base of over 10 million, exemplifies how banking can be seamlessly integrated into everyday digital life, offering everything from personal loans to real-time international money transfers, all at the user's fingertips.

KakaoBank’s homepage
KakaoBank’s homepage

These examples underscore a fundamental shift in Asian banking – a transition from traditional brick-and-mortar institutions to dynamic, digital-first platforms that are not just part of the future but are actively creating it.

In other words, we could say that, Digital Banking in Asia is synonym to:

  1. Advanced Features and Integration:
    • Asian digital banks offer a plethora of features, from advanced budgeting and savings tools to investment platforms, all seamlessly integrated into user-friendly apps.
  2. Superior UI/UX:
    • The focus on UI/UX in Asia is evident. Digital banking apps are designed for utmost convenience, with intuitive navigation and personalised experiences.
  3. Rapid Fintech Adoption:
    • Asia is a hotbed for fintech innovations. Digital banks here are quick to adopt technologies like blockchain, AI, and big data analytics, enhancing security and customer experience.
  4. Supportive Regulatory Environment:
    • Several Asian countries have created more supportive regulatory environments, encouraging innovation and experimentation in digital banking.

Bridging the Digital Banking Divide

The tale of digital banking in Belgium and Asia is one of contrasts. Belgium, with its sturdy financial foundations, still navigates the twists and turns of digital banking, seeking the right path towards innovation and user satisfaction. Meanwhile, Asia rides the waves of technological advancements, setting benchmarks for what digital banking can achieve.

For Belgium, the path forward involves learning from Asia’s successes. Embracing new technologies, fostering a more supportive regulatory environment, and prioritising user experience can help Belgium emerge from its digital banking labyrinth and step into the light of a more advanced, customer-centric digital banking future.

Evolution of Trend Strength in Asia - Trensition
Evolution of Trend Strength in Asia - Trensition
Evolution of Trend Strength in Europe - Trensition
Evolution of Trend Strength in Europe - Trensition

And, to end on a positive note, there is some good news. As you can see from a Trensition's AI analysis above, it would appear that the trend towards strong growth in digital banking is as strong in Asia as it is in Europe. The need and the desire are there. All that remains is to hope that implementation will be up to scratch.

More on this subject:

[Digital Banking] [Fintech]
Revolut: Redefining Digital Banking GloballyThe Future of Fintech: Japan's Innovative Digital Banking Solutions vs. The World's Giants