Over the past two decades people across the world have seen digital services transform the economy and their lives. Taxis, films, novels, noodles, doctors and dog-walkers can all be summoned with a tap of a screen. Giant firms in retailing, carmaking and the media have been humbled by new competitors. Yet one industry has withstood the tumult: banking. In rich countries it is perfectly normal to queue in branches, correspond with your bank by post and deposit cheques stamped with the logo of firms founded in the 19th century.
Yet, as our special report this week explains, technology is at last shaking up banking. In Asia payment apps are a way of life for over 1bn users. In the West mobile banking is reaching critical mass—49% of Americans bank on their phones—and tech giants are muscling in. Apple unveiled a credit card with Goldman Sachs on March 25th. Facebook is proposing a payments service to let users buy tickets and settle bills