How one bank is changing the conversation about money

Certain topics of conversation can’t be avoided, like the weather, gossip, or the “I don’t know, what do you feel like doing?” exchange you have every Saturday night with your significant other.

Then there’s that one topic that’s consciously avoided: money. Whether out of embarrassment, fear, or anxiety, few people especially millennials feel comfortable confronting their finances openly and honestly. This awkwardness prevents them from being proactive in making changes to how they save and spend, and so they wait for trouble.

Capital One is redesigning the banking experience to make it easier for people to get the advice and guidance they need to speak confidently about money and better understand with their finances and they’re doing it with cafés nationwide.

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“Our Capital One Cafés are about solving our visitor’s financial problems and helping them reach their money goals,” says Lia Dean, senior vice president of Capital One Cafés. “We started the journey two years ago by talking to Americans about their money and we learned three big things. First, most of the time they’re banking digitally. Second, while technology makes their money lives easier, it hasn’t solved their stress over their financial lives. And lastly, they don’t know where to turn to relieve that money stress.”

Two new Capital One Cafés opened in Hingham and Lynnfield earlier this year its first locations outside the Boston/Cambridge metro area—with an eighth Massachusetts location coming to the Seaport this spring. In addition to relaxed atmospheres and new technologies, all of the cafés feature strong ties to their respective neighborhoods, with pastries sourced from local bakeries, featured art created by local artists, and partnerships with local non-profits like Tech Goes Home and ABCD.

“The cafés are resonating with folks in more ways than we could have even imagined, making it easier for them to get the help and education they need on an array of topics, like student loan management and being financially self-sufficient, without feeling intimidated,” Dean added.

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The fact that Capital One has broadened its repertoire into this nontraditional space for banking should come as little surprise. The company has been innovating digital banking since it entered the industry, the cafés being the most recent example of reinvention. At the cafes, customers will be able to learn about different account options, while engaging with interactive screens that feature fun, helpful money content. Demo bars also showcase the latest digital tools that can help you better manage your money, an attractive feature for the 46 percent of U.S. adults that are using mobile devices to make payments and move around funds.

All Capital One Cafés have meeting rooms and private spaces for consultations with Capital One Ambassadors and Money Coaches. The space offers digital experiences to test innovations, like paying your Capital One credit card using Alexa, the Amazon voice service that powers its Echo machine. Large screens also show how to use CreditWise, Capital One’s free credit monitoring application.

“Personal finance has evolved with our digital economy,” says Dean. “We want to create experiences that fit more naturally into people’s lives. And that really comes to life in two ways–innovative products and digital tools, and also the human connection we know people still crave.”

To take this conversation beyond its cafes, Capital One is hitting the road for a cross-country, ten-city Banking Reimagined Tour. The tour started in Los Angeles and will visit Boston’s City Hall Plaza on March 23- 24.

The tour features a 54-foot-long trailer equipped with digital experiences that will transform how users view financial planning, like:

  • Interactive touchscreens that allow you to scroll through values and goals to understand how your personal outlook shapes the way you view money.
  • HoloLens Augmented Reality, a cutting-edge technology that lets you interact with 3D holographic imagery in real space and time, essentially bringing your financial goals to life.
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The most unique feature may be a video selfie booth. You can record a message to your future self about your goals, your obstacles, and the lessons you’ve learned. It just might be the most important selfie you ever take.

*According to a 2017 local market survey fielded by Toluna on behalf of Capital One

Sponsored By Capital One

This content was produced by Boston Globe Media in collaboration with the advertiser. The editorial department of Boston.com had no role in its production or display.

A redesigned banking experience
December 6, 2016 | 2:06 PM