The internet and smartphones both revolutionized the finance industry, and AR could be next. AR has traditionally been used to enhance entertainment or gaming experiences, but it holds the potential for new developments in the banking world as well.

Its uses go beyond advanced shopping experiences and mobile games. The opportunities that AR and mixed reality (MR) present for the world of banking could revolutionize the industry in years to come. Here are the top 3 ways we see that happening.

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1. We’ll See Fully Virtual Banks

In the near future, physical bank branches could be replaced with fully virtual experiences, on both the user and company end. For customers, this might mean accessing their account information through an interactive heads-up display on their smart glasses. While smart glasses are not yet ready for the masses, similar ideas have been implemented using smartphone AR tech already. For example, Westpac Bank in Australia lets customers use their app to see an interactive AR summary of their account by scanning their bank card.

AR and MR software like this would allow users freedom, control, and convenience over their banking experience. They could access any account information they needed to at any time, from anywhere. This is an important feature to make note of because customers have been proven to view financial institutions as more trustworthy if they feel they are in control of their own data and experience.

On the corporate side of things, mixed reality could allow banks to operate fully virtually and remotely, with limited physical locations. This is made possible by applying today’s remote work solutions to tomorrow’s MR technology. Meta’s (formerly Facebook) Horizons Workrooms is one example, providing a virtual office space that can be accessed from a variety of devices.

One day, this technology could take remote work to an entirely new level. Customer service specialists and accountants, for example, might meet with clients virtually and use AR to help them navigate their finances, all without either person ever leaving the comfort of their own home.

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2. AR Will Transform Customer Experiences

One of the most popular applications of AR is entertainment. Apps and games using AR have become quite popular. Finance companies can use this same technology to create fun and exciting experiences for their customers.

For example, banking and investment startup Acorns welcomes new customers with an AR presentation showing them all the details of their new debit card and its components. This feature may not have an effect on the actual banking experience or platform, but it does offer a little cutting-edge bonus for customers.

On a larger scale, in 2019, Ally Bank partnered with Monopoly to create a massive AR marketing campaign. It turned a handful of cities in the U.S. into giant, interactive Monopoly boards where users could play for real-life prizes. This is a great example of taking the tech that makes games like “Pokémon GO” so popular and applying it to business. This new style of marketing could become the go-to for fully virtual banks one day.

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3. Tutorials and Training Could Come to Life with AR

AR has proven highly useful for training employees on the job in everything from medicine to warehouse stocking. It allows users to see virtual mock-ups of what they are learning, building, or repairing, projected onto their actual world. This makes learning much more efficient than referring to a book or even video for guidance, especially when smart glasses are available for a fully hands-free experience.

There are multiple opportunities for applying this technology in the banking world. For example, financial institutions could use AR to remotely walk customers through doing their taxes or navigating their online accounts. A customer service technician could see a copy of the customer’s screen, circle the correct button or menu for them, and have their notes displayed on the customer’s screen, as well, all through the power of AR.

The same concepts apply on the corporate side, where new team members could learn rapidly and accurately on the job with AR and MR around to guide them, like an automated, personal instructor. This has the added benefit of freeing up more experienced personnel to focus on their own jobs instead of taking time out of their schedules to train new employees.

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A Tech-Driven Financial Future

Decentralizing the banking industry was just the beginning. The virtual reality market is projected to grow by 185 between 2021 and 2028, creating a convincing case for the future of AR, MR, and VR. This technology is the future and each cutting edge advancement made over recent years and the years to come will present new opportunities for financial institutions to innovate and expand. By exploring these exciting new developments today, the banking world can build an experience for today, inspired by tomorrow.

April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack Magazine and editorial contributor at AR Insider. She specializes in VR/AR, IoT, and business technology. See her work here and follow her @rehackmagazine.

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