Do Customers Really Want Invisible Banking?

By Chris Skinner

Quite a few people talk about invisible banking today. The idea is that banking transactions and services should be invisible as if they are noticeable, as in visible, then that means you have pain and friction which should have been removed.

A good example of invisible banking is the iTunes store where I can download apps and just register my thumbprint to approve. Everything is packaged in the background and invisible to me. The process has been wrapped up into an easy and enjoyable experience. Another example is my taxis apps, Uber and Lyft. I take the ride, jump out of the car ad leave. No payment needed as it’s all wrapped up in the app for an easy experience.

In other words, apps take away the conscious decision to pay, and do it all for you. You just live your life. That’s what invisible banking is meant to be all about.

The thing is, I have two problems with invisible banking. It’s not that I want the customer to have pain and friction, but sometimes pain and friction is good. Here’s one example: the drunken Amazon. You know, that late night moment where you’re on your third glass of wine (!) and decide that the advert for the Delfonico Ultraluxury Cappuccino maker for £699 is worth having, even though you already have one. When it arrives by Prime the next day, oh dear, two hours out of the day repackaging and sending back to Amazon. That’s ok, but you should see what I’ve brought on eBay recently. Well. Maybe not.

So, the first issue I have with invisible banking is that it makes it far too easy to make impulse purchases. Good for the merchant and good for the bank, but not so good for the consumer who can sometimes feel it’s all too easy when the banking moments are invisible.

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The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.