Digital-First Banking Tracker® Series Report

Governments Byte Back in Response to Digital Demand

September 2023

As the private sector blazes digital trails, governments must catch up or risk eroding public trust in their services. The digital gap is widening, and citizens are watching.

PYMNTS

U.S. federal and state governments’ strategies for digitized public services are puzzling — a dichotomy of evolving aspirations and archaic practices. As citizens navigate between the remarkable strides of select state agencies and the lingering digital holdouts of others, their call to action is unequivocal: America’s eGovernment evolution should not be a debate but a pressing economic necessity.
Governments globally are unlocking a new age of convenience and speed in the public services they offer. Whether by revolutionizing digital payments, streamlining public transit transactions or remolding federal student-aid experiences, the digital race is on.
As digital transformation continues its march, public institutions find themselves under a magnifying glass. Users of their services expect intuitive and secure digital experiences. The calculus is simple but profound: Enhance these services, and the dividends are paid in heightened public satisfaction and trust. Governments that master these digital moves stand to capture the king of public trust.


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    Private sector innovation cycles can be blindingly fast, often far outpacing government efforts. The public has taken notice. These days, users of government services have little patience for inefficient brick-and-mortar queues and tedious paperwork. Citizens want their governments to champion digital transformation. For governments, enhancing their public-facing digital act is more than just window dressing — it is central to igniting the public’s trust in these services.

    Digital Disparity: Government Services vs. Public Expectations

    U.S. federal and state governments’ strategies for digitized public services are puzzling — a dichotomy of evolving aspirations and archaic practices. As citizens navigate between the remarkable strides of select state agencies and the lingering digital holdouts of others, their call to action is unequivocal: America’s eGovernment evolution should not be a debate, but a pressing economic necessity.

    27

    The percentage-point spread
    in the U.S. federal government
    experience scores, highlighting
    the inconsistency of service delivery.

    The time warp of digital federal services leaves the public wanting better.

    While the private sector revs up its digital customer experience (CX) engines, U.S. federal government services seem stuck in a time warp, trailing far behind, often with “poor” or “very poor” user ratings. A striking 27 percentage-point spread between the highest and lowest CX scores persists in 2023, revealing a digital services constellation of both stars and black holes. The mission for U.S. government leaders: a digital revamp that ensures stellar customer experiences.

    Americans swipe right on digital, but government is left behind.

    Americans increasingly want to interact digitally, hoping for streamlined experiences when they engage their government for services. While they are swiping right for government web portals and mobile apps, the disparity between hope and reality is often stark. Egregious wait times? Archaic. Confusing website prompts? A relic. As a transformation to eGovernment hovers on the horizon, America awaits a service revolution — a digital cue Uncle Sam should take seriously.

    Utah trades paper stacks for digital tracks in licensing.

    Wading through mountains of paperwork to renew a state-issued license is a favorite pastime … said no business ever. In a dramatic shift from 95% paper-based services, one state agency in Utah now stands at the inverse — 95% of services have been digitized. This transformation represents more than just trading paper for pixels. It embodies a leap from stringent control to a service-driven ethos — a digital salute to the state’s more than 4,000 businesses that must renew their licenses.

    From Coins to Clicks: Governments Power Up Digital Payments

    Governments globally are unlocking a new age of convenience and speed in the public services they offer. Whether by revolutionizing digital payments, streamlining public transit transactions or remolding federal student-aid experiences, the digital race is on.

    £123M

    The revenue collected by HM Revenue
    and Customs via its app, spotlighting the
    U.K.’s ambitious stride into open banking

    Open banking in the U.K. paves the way for digital payments.

    Ditch the queue and embrace the new. By unlocking the potential of open banking, the U.K. government is striding toward a streamlined digital payments ecosystem. The grand vision sees GOV.UK Pay expand from central government to local avenues — and heavy hitters like Apple Pay and Google Pay will be invited to play. Convenience pays, too. His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) agency has already raked in £123 million in self-reported tax payments through its app.

    Toronto’s commuters bid farewell to loose change.

    Ontario just upped its transit game by rolling out digital payment options across the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) transport network. Gone are the days of rummaging for spare change. Riders can now opt for tapping credit and debit cards or even smartphones and smartwatches. Digitalizing the commute? Ontario’s ticket is punched!

    The U.S. administration shifts repayment gears in a digital dash.

    The current U.S. administration is not walking but sprinting into the digital age. Clock this: Navigating the new income-centric tool on StudentAid.gov? Done in a breezy 10 minutes or less. Integrating seamlessly with the IRS, the tool lets users set, forget and auto-recertify annually. This is public service reimagined for the digital now.

    Public Trust Hangs in the Digital Balance

    As digital transformation continues its march, public institutions find themselves under a magnifying glass. Users of their services expect intuitive and secure digital experiences. The calculus is simple but profound: Enhance these services, and the dividends are paid in heightened public satisfaction and trust. Governments that master these digital moves stand to capture the king of public trust.

    89%

    Share of Australians who agree
    that stronger privacy laws are
    paramount in the digital age.

    Digital defense is the new vanguard of public trust.

    Recall the days when government itself seemed impenetrable? A recent report flips that script, revealing a dramatic 40% uptick in digital assaults against public institutions. The plot twist? Each repelled attack does more than just mark a technology win. It reinforces public confidence. Governments bolstering their cyber defenses are not only shielding data, but also cementing the foundations of public trust in their digital services.

    In privacy we trust, but in some providers more than others.

    Flash back 10 years, and privacy laws might have seemed an afterthought. Fast-forward, and now an overwhelming 89% of Australians rally behind stronger privacy legislation. For those living in the Land Down Under, health providers and federal agencies are the gold medalists in the trust Olympics, while social media gets the wooden spoon. However, when it comes to biometrics, the consensus among Australians is a nod of approval at their government’s practices.

    Byting back with every click and tap.

    U.S. city governments, take note: Upgrade your digital game. Residents find nothing appealing about sinking in bureaucratic digital quicksand, nor are they keen on playing guessing games with their privacy. More than 75% shy away from official online channels — a number begging for change. Offer intuitive and secure digital experiences and watch public satisfaction and trust soar. While the private sector races ahead, governments face more than just a byte-sized to-do list.

    Bridging the Digital Gap: From Vision to Reality

    Governments stand at the nexus of technology and service delivery, yet they are grappling with the reality that the digital services they offer are not on par with those of the private sector. The challenge now is for governments to close the divide between their promise of a digitally transformed eGovernment and the current reality.

    PYMNTS Intelligence offers the following actionable roadmap:

    Audit existing systems: Understand the current gaps in services. Which ones are used most? Which ones can be consolidated or even retired? Identifying these empowers agencies to pinpoint service areas in which enhancements would be most immediately beneficial and ensures resources are directed efficiently.

    Gather feedback from citizens: Encourage dialogue with in-person and digital users. Understand their preferences, frustrations and desired features in their digital experiences. Receptivity to feedback enables government agencies to adapt and evolve in alignment with citizens’ needs.

    Collaborate with technology providers: Engage with technology leaders about best practices and develop partnerships with companies that excel in digital infrastructure specifically tailored for governments. Doing so enables rapid, efficient and seamless deployment while minimizing headaches over technical debt.

    Educate and train staff: Ensure personnel have the skills needed to manage and maintain digital services while also assisting citizens when they hit a digital wall. Staff should be primed to guide users unfamiliar with the nuances of digital platforms.

    Prioritize security: Emphasize robust cybersecurity and stringent data protection. Governments that invest in offering secure and private online experiences reap the benefits of heightened public trust.

    In the digital age, governments are expected to inspire confidence in their digital services and showcase innovation. Governments should therefore leverage technology not only to facilitate but also to enhance the citizen experience.

    Doug Brown

    As we move into real-time payments — faster money movement — and consumers continue to grow their digital footprint, governments have to continuously evolve policy to ensure they are protecting the consumer first and foremost.”

    Doug Brown
    President

    About

    NCR Corporation is a leader in banking and commerce solutions, powering incredible experiences that make life easier. With its software, hardware and portfolio of services, NCR enables transactions across financial, retail, hospitality, travel, telecom and technology industries. NCR is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with 34,000 employees and does business in 180 countries. NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.

    Ingo

    PYMNTS Intelligence is a leading global data and analytics platform that uses proprietary data and methods to provide actionable insights on what’s now and what’s next in payments, commerce and the digital economy. Its team of data scientists include leading economists, econometricians, survey experts, financial analysts and marketing scientists with deep experience in the application of data to the issues that define the future of the digital transformation of the global economy. This multi-lingual team has conducted original data collection and analysis in more than three dozen global markets for some of the world’s leading publicly traded and privately held firms.

    The PYMNTS Intelligence team that produced this Tracker:
    Managing Director: Aitor Ortiz
    Senior Writer: Randall Brown


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