Consumer expectations of the financial services industry are evolving. Today, they expect everything from their banking apps to payment platforms to work at the same speed and performance as say their social media platforms or the sites that they shop on. If a consumer has a negative experience - whether they can’t access their bank account, see fraudulent activity on a credit card stored in their digital wallet, or their contactless payment transaction fails to go through - they’ll most likely move on to another vendor.

The good news is that today’s technology is advancing to help financial service companies deliver this level of service. But as technology to support this overall consumerization of the industry evolves, unprecedented connectivity needs to ensure businesses not only meet consumer needs, but also deliver exceptional user experiences, come with it.

Having the infrastructure in place to adapt and scale to growing demands for fast and instantaneous transactions therefore presents a big opportunity for financial services companies to outperform competitors. But the key to the right infrastructure is having access to Internet exchanges (IX) - switching platforms that allow a large number of Internet service providers (ISPs), connectivity carriers, content platforms, SaaS platforms and clouds to connect and directly exchange traffic with one another.

Let’s take a look at how financial services companies can leverage IXs to help deliver services to customers with uninterrupted Internet connectivity and ultimately optimize their user experiences.

Wall Street, New York
– Kisandka Moses

Maximize availability and resilience

Financial services businesses are known for processing enormous volumes of consumers’ daily transactions, such as contactless payments, online money transfers or digital wallet transactions. This makes the availability, bandwidth and responsiveness of their infrastructure critical. However, prior to leveraging IXs, financial services companies worked with only one ISP to carry out their connectivity needs. Being reliant on just one single carrier meant that they didn’t have the resources they needed to manage the amount of transactions they were trying to complete and as a result, they were often left with bandwidth issues and connectivity outages that led to poor user experiences.

Now juxtapose this approach with leveraging IXs. The latter enables financial services companies to broaden their resiliency by leveraging numerous connectivity providers rather than relying on just one. By having access to various connectivity providers, businesses can ensure that they have the additional bandwidth they need to support high peak transactions as well as back up in case any connectivity issues occur. This gives businesses the peace of mind they need when it comes to guaranteeing that customers will receive the seamless experiences that they expect.

Improve performance

Financial services companies want to ensure customers can rely on them for whatever service they’re using, especially considering the sensitive nature of the information that they provide. Take a digital or mobile payment application, for example - if it stops working for the customer, even only a few times, he or she is likely to stop using this app in favor of another that is more reliable.

By leveraging an IX, financial services organizations can accelerate their service performance by serving customers content located closest to where their requests originate from. Because IXs provide access to a broader choice of ISPs, they can help these financial service organizations bring traffic even closer to their users, reducing round-trip time and optimizing performance.

Further, connecting directly to the same network a customer is on via IXs, payment or financial services providers can reduce the number of intermediary network components that sit between their platform and their customers. This helps reduce lag time - meaning consumers get what they want, when they need it in a reliable way.

Future-proofing the business

By enabling high connectivity through IXs, businesses are building infrastructure for the future and ensuring a capacity for growth and the headroom to increase their business. In other words, by focusing on the performance of their services and prioritizing the user experiences they’re delivering today, financial services companies are setting their businesses up to succeed in the future.

Think of the boom in contactless payments - by mid-2018, there were already 440 million global contactless payment users and this number is expected to grow to 760 million by the end of 2020. Coupled with the widespread popularity of smart phones, this anticipated growth of contactless transactions on smart devices will demand even greater connectivity between the payment platform and end-user in the near future. Businesses that set up their infrastructure to leverage IXs from the begin, will be positioned to handle more volume of transactions in a reliable and optimized way as their industry - and ultimately their business - continues to grow.

Leveraging Internet exchanges

The benefits that financial services companies can reap from leveraging IXs are undeniable, but it can often be difficult to determine where to start. Carrier-neutral colocation serves as an ideal environment for financial services companies to access IXs with multiple ISPs, network providers and cloud platforms all from within the same facility.

Businesses gain the benefit of routing Internet traffic through the most efficient, lowest-latency routes, which in the end translates to greater network performance, helping to meet the needs of today’s financial services customers.