The banking and payments industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation owing to ever changing consumer expectations. The rapid technological developments in the areas of banking and payments that aim to offer seamless experience to consumers are now becoming even more vital for industry participants as competitors leverage new technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, cybersecurity, and embedded finance as they compete to stay relevant and grow in the market. In the last three years alone, there have been over 92,000 patents filed and granted in the banking industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Banking: virtual banking assistant.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

60+ innovations will shape the banking industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the banking industry using innovation intensity models built on over 195,000 patents, there are 60+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, transaction-enabling smart contracts is a disruptive technology that is in the early stage of application and should be tracked closely. Distributed ledger network, BNPL payment protocols, and virtual banking assistant are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are IM trading platforms and in-app payments, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the banking industry

Virtual banking assistant is a key innovation area in banking

Voice-activated banking virtual assistants, such as Bank of America's Erica and U.S. Bank Smart Assistant, allow users to conduct transactions such as money transfers to friends or family and make payments to merchants. The banks’ customers can give instructions to carry out basic transactions while speaking to the U.S. Bank Smart Assistant.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established banking companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of virtual banking assistant.

Key players in virtual banking assistant – a disruptive innovation in the banking industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to virtual banking assistant

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Capital One Financial 95 Unlock company profile
Bank of America 85 Unlock company profile
Mastercard 72 Unlock company profile
Alibaba Group Holding 45 Unlock company profile
Wells Fargo 43 Unlock company profile
PayPal Holdings 43 Unlock company profile
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China 33 Unlock company profile
Experian 31 Unlock company profile
Visa 24 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 23 Unlock company profile
Toronto-Dominion Bank 22 Unlock company profile
Envestnet 21 Unlock company profile
Socure 17 Unlock company profile
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China 16 Unlock company profile
JPMorgan Chase 15 Unlock company profile
USAA 15 Unlock company profile
Coinplug 15 Unlock company profile
Universal Secure Registry 15 Unlock company profile
Bizmodeline 14 Unlock company profile
Block 13 Unlock company profile
Hana Financial Group 13 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 13 Unlock company profile
Fidelity National Information Services 12 Unlock company profile
Tencent Holdings 12 Unlock company profile
Woori Financial Group 11 Unlock company profile
American Express 11 Unlock company profile
Truist Financial 11 Unlock company profile
Harex Infotech 11 Unlock company profile
Apple 10 Unlock company profile
Citigroup 10 Unlock company profile
China Construction Bank 9 Unlock company profile
Intuit 7 Unlock company profile
Fiserv 7 Unlock company profile
NCR 6 Unlock company profile
Naver 6 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 6 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Qianhai We Bank 6 Unlock company profile
Glory 5 Unlock company profile
Proxy 5 Unlock company profile
Viva Republica 5 Unlock company profile
Nti 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Capital One Financial is one of the leading companies in the areas of virtual banking assistant. The bank offers a virtual banking assistant called Eno that answers a wide range of customer queries such as account summary, bill payments, transaction history, reward balances and available credit, among others. Some other key players in this space include Bank of America, Mastercard, Alibaba Group, and Wells Fargo.

In terms of application diversity, Experian leads the pack, while Socure and Nti stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Socure holds the top position, followed by Universal Secure Registry and Envestnet.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the banking industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Banking.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.