Navigating the rise of aggregators: A game changer in the savings ecosystem

The technology landscape for savings has been undergoing a transformative shift in recent years, with several new tools and platforms appearing on the market with the goal of connecting savings providers with more cost-effective technology and modern infrastructure.

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However, the emergence of aggregators and savings platforms has added another layer of complexity to the savings ecosystem as we know it, ushering a new era of convenience and choice for savers. But as these platforms gain momentum with consumers, they also present a unique set of opportunities and challenges for banks or building societies that don’t yet have the right technology to join these platforms.

Understanding aggregators

Traditionally, the savings model has been relatively straightforward, with providers offering their products directly to consumers and gradually adopting different digital tools to streamline this process, whether that’s launching a mobile banking app to help customers set savings goals, or by investing in dynamic dashboards that allow providers to analyse real-time data to improve the customer experience. However, the rise of aggregators such as Raisin and Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings, is turning this model on its head and compelling savings providers to enhance their technology if they want to effectively participate in these platforms and share their products and rates with third parties.

So, what sets these aggregators apart, and what benefits do they offer savers? Essentially, these platforms act as intermediaries, offering a centralised hub for savers to access a variety of savings accounts from different providers. For instance, Hargreaves Lansdown's Active Savings platform has recently enabled savers to conveniently manage cash ISAs, alongside other savings accounts provided by a range of providers, under one roof. This not only streamlines the process for consumers, but the added benefit of managing a cash ISA provides a one-stop shop for those who want the best rate while also taking advantage of the tax wrapper.

The risk of lagging behind

While the appeal for savers is clear, as having one account naturally avoids the hassle of constantly switching, the integration challenge poses a significant technological hurdle for some savings providers. Without the necessary technology infrastructure, specifically a smooth onboarding process, banks and building societies won’t be able to share their products on these platforms, nor will customers be able to seamlessly open accounts. Those that are still reliant on outdated, paper-based processes could lose a golden opportunity to expand their customer base, and it not only limits their reach but also diminishes their competitiveness in a crowded market.

Additionally, the repercussions of inefficient onboarding processes extend beyond missed opportunities for collaboration with aggregators. Providers may be forced to resort to alternative strategies to entice customers, such as offering higher interest rates or sacrificing margins, further compromising profitability in the absence of streamlined operations.

Embracing innovation in the era of digital savings

Looking ahead, the proliferation of aggregators in the savings ecosystem is inevitable, driven by consumer demand for simplified ‘all-in-one’ solutions, not just when it comes to savings but in most aspects of everyday life. As savers gravitate towards platforms offering convenience and optimal returns, providers must prioritise investment in technology to remain relevant and competitive in this evolving landscape. The rise of these new players marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of the savings ecosystem, presenting both challenges and opportunities for providers, but only by embracing innovation and adapting to changing consumer needs will they navigate this new terrain successfully and unlock the full potential of the digital savings landscape.