Technology is now an integral tool for helping people run their lives. It is used for everything from weekly food shopping to paying bills, and – increasingly – to manage finances.
Data from the Payments Council shows that 28 million people now use online banking, an increase of 9.4 million over five years ago. As more people choose to do their banking on the move, technology continues to evolve, allowing users more options, and greater peace of mind.
For people moving to a new country, the reliance on technology is more acute. As they arrive in the UK, technology is an important means to maintain regular contact with friends and family at home, via Skype or social media. This can help ease the transition to a new environment and ensure that friendships are sustained while abroad. It can also help expats keep up with cultural events in their home nation.
Equally, expatriates will often retain houses, investments and business interests in their home country, which requires them to stay in touch. Houses may be let, but there will be ongoing maintenance and bill payments. Expatriates may continue to have tax liabilities at home, particularly if they retain investments there. These ongoing responsibilities will require the ability to transfer multicurrency funds fluidly and with ease, which in turn requires global access across time zones.
It is for these reasons that mobile banking has become the banking channel of choice. NatWest's busiest branch is now its ‘virtual’ one, with over £30 million transferred every day through the mobile banking app. Since the launch of the first offshore mobile app in 2011, there have been two million transactions made using mobile devices.
A recent study by NatWest highlighted the importance of technology for expatriates in particular, with over 90 per cent saying they enjoyed a better working life as a direct result of using technology and 86 per cent say it saved them time. Around 82 per cent believed technology facilitated greater mobility in their working life, while 67 per cent felt it allowed them to work more flexibly.New developments in banking
The banking sector has increasingly recognised and responded to the embracing of technology by its customers. Innovation is happening all the time. For example, from April this year, it became possible for payments to be transferred using just a mobile phone number. The sector as a whole is striving to enable account holders to bank in the way they want to, when they want to, and to do so safely.
At NatWest Global Employee Banking (GEB), we aim to be at the forefront of these new developments and ensure that people are able to bank with us in the way that is most convenient for them. An inpat may not want to take time away from a new job, or settling their family, to organise their banking requirements. As such, technology will be an important part of our support to most clients. We have a comprehensive website and effective online and mobile banking proposition to help clients manage finances on the move. We equally recognise that many are still reassured by face-to-face contact with their bank, and for that we retain a 1,600-strong branch network.
Technology does not replace the need for a personal touch, but serves to enhance it. A well-functioning and intuitive website is a basic requirement: The NatWest Global Employee Banking website will lead people to the right banking account for them, by walking them through a few basic questions. We offer two location options for assignees coming to live and work in the UK: a Select account, which is held at a branch of NatWest Plc onshore, or a Global Select account tailored to the needs of the international assignee, which is held with NatWest International Personal Banking offshore. The interactive website helps customers identify what account is right for them by answering a few simple questions.
As a trusted adviser in the relocation process, the website also offers more nuanced services for customers, anticipating potential challenges faced in impatriation. NatWest Global Employee Banking aims to provide effective advice on how to deal with those problems. The 'relocation hub' provides a comprehensive guide to relocation, looking at how to select the right place to live, the legal challenges of buying and renting, and the advantages of different locations. For families, it has a guide on UK education, giving an insider's view on the UK school system, both public and private. The guides also look at the softer aspects of relocation. The NatWest GEB Guide to UK Culture
gives an insight into the idiosyncrasies of the British, saving new arrivals the time and bewilderment of figuring them out independently.
The site even incorporates a dedicated area for children, offering some guidance and support for parents moving abroad. An area of the site is focused on Jerrie the bear, who finds he is moving to London with his family. Jerrie talks about the things he will leave behind – his toys, his bedroom – but also looks at the things he will gain – new friends and a new country. The site is fully interactive, with illustrations and designs.Convenience and control
Banking on the go is likely to be the most important feature for many expats, who will need to be able to manage their finances across multiple locations. Convenience, speed and control are the key requirements for globally mobile customers who value their time and the ability to keep their finances in check wherever they are in the world. For NatWest, this means keeping pace with technological change to ensure that we facilitate our client's global banking needs.
Online banking enables customers to settle bills, transfer funds, check their accounts and manage regular payments through a secure system available at any time. The service allows customers to move funds seamlessly between NatWest accounts, even if they are in different currencies. NatWest’s iBanking app for iPad gives customers a single view of both their currency and sterling accounts, allowing them to keep up-to-date with their responsibilities in both their home and adopted countries.
One of our most recent innovations is Get Cash, which enables customers to withdraw money without using their bank card at an ATM. The customer chooses the amount they wish to withdraw from the app and a secure cash code is sent to their phone which is then valid for three hours at any RBS cash machine. Another new facility is the Pay Your Contacts service, which enables a customer to pay anyone with a Visa debit, credit or prepaid card using just their mobile number, even if they are not a bank customer. Video guides help customers use all these new tools, and webinars are also available to walk assignees through the application process, and outline the support available.
Ultimately, technology can be a valuable tool to support the relocation process with all its complexities. NatWest Global Employee Banking is at the forefront of technical development to ensure that its customers have all the resources they need to manage their lives, both at home and abroad.
For more information and details on NatWest Global Employee Banking, visit www.natwestglobal.com
or call Neil Barsby on 01245 355628.Used previouslyThe Global Employee Banking service is offered by National Westminster Bank Plc. Registered in England No 929027. 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3UR. National Westminster Bank Plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.Our services are not offered to any person in any jurisdiction where their advertisement, offer or sale is restricted or prohibited by law or regulation or where we are not appropriately licensed.Using toolboxThe Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited trading as NatWest (NatWest). Registered Office: PO Box 64, Royal Bank House, 71 Bath Street, St Helier, Jersey JE4 8PJ. Regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.National Westminster Bank Plc. Registered in England No 929027. 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3UR. National Westminster Bank Plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.National Westminster Bank Plc is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme established under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme, set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, covers your account. For money held in a bank or building society in the UK, the scheme will cover up to £85,000 of your claim. Most people who make deposits, including individuals and small firms, are covered. Deposits in all currencies are treated the same. For more information on the conditions of the scheme, please contact the FSCS at www.fscs.org.ukCalls may be recorded. Internet emails are not necessarily secure, as information might be intercepted, lost or destroyed.