There has been a great shift towards online and mobile banking in Latvia, as many of its residents take advantage of apps that enable us to do everything on the move on our devices. Not only has the younger generation found the user experience on these gadgets more appealing than the visit to the branch, but also customers who were not born with the internet in their pockets. With the continuous growth of general e – services, we witness a new fashion on how we use financial services.
Banks journey from branch to digital
First few years of banking was a true adventure for a young country as Latvia, but after a decade it was clear that the customers have accepted the new way of living within this environment – so did the banks. In the beginning, there was very little online presence; in fact, the banks homepage was an online brochure, with basic information about products and services. The true big leap came only a few years later together with the smartphone and the 3G network. Today it is possible to compare several banks with a couple of clicks, and see which product is most suitable. Statistics show that people use banking apps mostly for viewing their balance and transactions made in store or online, to transfer funds and pay their monthly bills – even automated. With new tech – it takes some time to adopt, but it did not take long to see the benefits of convenience, 24/7 access and automation. We still prefer the human touch where we spend a great deal of money. Both banks and individuals see the need for a dialogue for investments and pension schemes or for the buy of a new home. Certainly, it is a better idea to inform ourselves about these topics before we approach the banks.
Banking services in Latvia
The Latvian market has stayed constant for a number of years. Swedbank, followed by SEB have the leading positions. Its own Citadele takes the third spot and the newly joined bank Luminor – fourth place. BlueOrange is noticeable as the first real online bank in Latvia.
Sortter – Your personal assistant for comparing loans and financial services
To be completely sure about which bank offers what product – Sortter is an easy, free and convenient place to compare loans and educate yourself about the possibilities banks can offer their existing and new customers. This broad range of services provide useful information for individuals who seek for guidance with no obligations for taking a loan. We may compare dozens of offers from the financial industry ranging from loans (e.g., consumer loans, car loans etc.) to payment cards and digital wallets. With just a single application you are already good to go.
Global evolution of online payments
With the rise of internet services, we found new ways of paying online. The Millennium was an era of the debit and credit cards. In 1999 PayPal found its way in the online market, in 2008 Bitcoin, 2011 Google wallet – followed by Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Revolut opened in 2015, which has become Europe’s most popular online bank – a great shift for 20 years!
Did we find time to educate ourselves during the pandemic?
Even before the pandemic, banks slowly but surely introduced their new digital features to their clients. Also downscaling the physical offices, which was a strong signal that we should use the new banking technologies for most of our needs. Bank representatives admit that since the beginning of the pandemic the use of online banking has increased. This should mean that we must take time to inform and educate ourselves before we click; by comparing relevant offers in one place in a convenient manner.