Tangerine has become the first Canadian lender to launch Secure Chat, enabling customers to interact securely with the bank over a real-time chat session, to discuss not only general enquiries but also confidential banking matters that previously could only be discussed on the phone. Douglas Blakey reports

Available already via its website and soon to be available via its mobile banking app, Tangerine, the digital banking subsidiary of Scotiabank, is claiming another Canadian banking first with Secure Chat.

The service provides a means for customers to have typed conversations with Tangerine customer service staff about confidential banking matters.

According to the bank, this will include obtaining specific account details or completing transactions, all within a chat session from the convenience of their mobile device or computer.

“It’s an exciting time for our nearly two million clients at Tangerine. We use new, safe and secure technologies to transform the client experience and to help Canadians live better lives,” says Peter Aceto, President and CEO of Tangerine.

“Whether you want to become a new client or access your hard earned money, it’s never been a better time to be a Tangerine client. We are very proud to be the first bank in Canada to have the technology in place to offer this Secure Chat feature.”

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Available on its website in both English and French, Tangerine’s Secure Chat feature uses Genesys technology and operates on a customised platform that was built in partnership with IBM.

Clients can initiate a chat session, found under the “Contact Us” section on Tangerine.ca, when they are already securely logged into online banking, without going through any additional security screening steps. Secure Chat on Tangerine’s Mobile Banking App will operate the same way and is expected to be available in the coming months.

“As we work on new technologies to improve and personalise customer’s digital interactive experiences, we know that chat features are the future when it comes to convenience and preference,” says Charbel Safadi, Global Business Services Partner and Chief Technology Officer for IBM in Canada.

“We’re excited to be working with Tangerine who continue to drive financial service innovation by offering a secure chat technology and exposing it to multiple channels including mobile devices and online banking to further enhance digital engagement and convenience for Tangerine clients.”

A bank spokesperson tells RBI that: “So far we’ve seen a great response to this new feature and we expect the volumes to increase as more clients become aware of this added convenience.”

Tangerine has sought to position itself as the country’s most innovative digital lender.

Aceto tells RBI: “Continuous innovation is part of our DNA and we’re focused on delivering cutting-edge technologies (like biometrics) to continually improve our client experience.”

He adds: “Over the past year we’ve done this by making it easier for our clients to interact with us using their mobile devices including through new features like Voice Banking and Touch ID. We’ve also made it easier for new clients to sign up for the bank through new innovations like our mobile pop up locations. These locations, in addition to our cafes, feature cutting-edge technology including our new Sign Me Up app that allows Canadians to sign up for an account within minutes simply by scanning their driver’s licence or other accepted ID.

“We have many exciting projects in the works this year as we redefine what Canadians believe is possible from their bank.”

The Tangerine app was one of the first apps available on Apple Watch when it launched in April 2015, providing users with quick and easy access to their personal banking information from their wrist.

This includes checking account balances, recent transactions and transaction details – in addition to the ability to set alerts for account and transaction thresholds.

Dutch-headquartered lender ING rolled out ING Direct Canada in 1997, aggressively targeting the country’s big five lenders with no-fee internet based current accounts and an aggressive deposit interest rate strategy.

By the time of its sale to Scotiabank in 2012 in a C$3bn ($2.3bn) deal, ING Direct Canada (rebranded as Tangerine in 2013) had grown its customer numbers to more than 1.8 million, now almost two million.