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Key Trends Shaping Irish Financial Services in 2024

~7min reading time
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The Irish financial services industry, a cornerstone of the national economy, is experiencing a wave of change driven by disruptive technologies, shifting consumer preferences and an evolving regulatory landscape. How can finance leaders ensure their businesses stay competitive and thrive in this new landscape? A deep understanding of the key trends poised to reshape operations and strategies is essential while ensuring compliance with current and emerging regulations.

In this blog, we examine how generative AI can streamline workflows and enhance risk management, the impact of widespread cashless payment adoption on financial tracking, the imperative of heightened cybersecurity in an era of advanced threats, and the value proposition of green finance within a sustainability-conscious marketplace.

Generative AI

Generative artificial intelligence is expected to be the most influential trend affecting the entire financial services sector in 2024. From enhanced customer service chatbots to AI-powered fraud detection systems and even automated financial reporting, this technology offers a myriad of benefits such as:

  • Improved customer experiences: AI-driven virtual assistants don't just address queries 24/7; they personalise interactions, offer proactive recommendations, and foster customer satisfaction and loyalty, which leads to higher engagement and trust.
  • Risk mitigation: Artificial intelligence’s strength lies in its ability to analyse massive datasets at lightning speed, far beyond humans' capacity. It can also identify suspicious transactions and detect patterns, anomalies, and unauthorised activity invisible to the human eye.
  • Streamlined operations: Perhaps the most immediate impact of AI is process automation. It excels at automating repetitive, data-heavy tasks like data entry, report generation, and even financial modelling.

Cashless Business Payments

Cashless payment solutions are quickly becoming the norm for streamlining business expenses, especially subscription fees and recurring allowances like per diems. This trend is particularly relevant in Ireland, with the digital payments market projected to achieve a total transaction value of US$22.15bn in 2024 and an annual growth rate of 8.08% by 2028. Additionally, 47% of Irish businesses say they intend on going fully cashless over the next 10 years.

The key advantages of finance leaders embracing the cashless payments trend include:

  • Convenience and flexibility: Cashless payment options optimise spending processes, particularly for recurring business expenses, and completely remove the need for physical cards.
  • Real-time financial visibility: Cashless options like prepaid digital cards enable secure, trackable spending and provide a transparent financial picture, enabling better budgeting and cash flow control.

Heightened Cyber Security

For the financial services industry, security is everything. Unfortunately, cyberattacks are becoming more common and advanced as technology evolves, which is one of the reasons why the Irish Central Bank introduced the Consumer Protection Code in 2022.

Along with these regulatory changes, business-specific measures are gaining traction. Some of these modern security processes include:

  • Phishing awareness: Phishing occurs when an attacker pretends to be a reputable company through email or SMS and encourages users to provide information. Finance companies should increase the time spent on educating employees on phishing to help prevent successful attacks.
  • Artificial intelligence: AI can help with automatic threat detection, response, and reporting. Attackers may have intelligent approaches, but AI adds a barrier to external threats and encourages internal cooperation.
  • Third-party security: Financial companies might need more internal resources to manage their security, especially with rapid growth.
  • Auditing: Evaluating and tracking security measures ensures effectiveness. Scheduling annual or semi-annual audits can prevent your system from falling behind.

Green Finance

Global concern for the environment and sustainable business practices have been on the rise over the past few years, and the financial services industry is not exempt. Green finance practices, such as ditching the usage of plastic bank cards and adopting prepaid digital Mastercards, are quickly leading the way for eco-conscious companies.

It’s important to note that green business practices are capable of more than generating positive public sentiment. By incorporating sustainability into decision-making, Irish companies have the opportunity to make not only a positive impact on the environment but also turn a profit. For example, Aviva research recently discovered that 49% of Irish consumers say they prefer to buy from companies that prioritise environmental sustainability.

Other benefits that financial companies can expect are:

  • Reduced operational costs: Sustainable practices often lead to savings on energy, resources, and waste management.
  • Attracting and retaining talent: Businesses with a strong sustainability commitment are more attractive to employees, especially younger generations who are highly values-driven.
  • Improved risk management: By considering environmental factors in investments and lending, companies can mitigate long-term risks associated with climate change and regulatory shifts.
  • Enhanced brand reputation: A commitment to sustainability signals corporate responsibility, building trust and loyalty among customers and investors.

Embracing Finance Trends With CleverCards

The Irish financial services landscape is shifting quickly with a highlight on the importance of adaptability, robust security and technological innovation. Embracing technologies like generative AI and cashless solutions enables efficiency, improves customer experiences, and streamlines processes, while a focus on cybersecurity ensures data protection in a world of escalating threats.

Most importantly, recognising the value of green finance aligns finance companies with both environmental responsibility and the potential for long-term growth. Solutions such as CleverCards digital prepaid Mastercards provide finance leaders with the tools necessary to navigate these trends and remain at the forefront of the evolving financial services industry.

If you would like to learn more about CleverCards, please fill out the form below and our team will get in touch with you.