Cell Side: Mobilizing the Smart Phone Banking Experience
U.S. smart phone banking consumers are finally moving beyond the angst of the post-Great Recession years. In 2014, a period where financial institutions fought regulatory battles to keep revenues high and customers on board, financial consumers turned their attention to the quality of their mobile banking experience. This trend holds true in mobile banking, where banks are ramping up services to meet heightened customer demands.
The Mobile “Must Have”
Make no mistake, smart phone banking consumers want more mobile banking services. Banks are working overtime to meet this growing demand. According to a recent American Banker poll, 68 percent of bankers claimed an increase in spending on mobile banking technology in 2014. In fact, 33 percent of respondents indicated an increase of their mobile banking budget by 11 percent to 50 percent. Another 20 percent of poll respondents indicated that they’ve increased spending on mobile technology by more than 50 percent. But as banks begin to dig deeper into their pockets, a strategy must be created.
The Mobile Strategy
Allocating funds for mobile banking is only one piece of the puzzle. There are plenty of user experience models and mobile policy strategies that can be implemented to help meet the burgeoning demand for new mobile services. For example, consumer trends highlight the features mobile banking consumers want in their mobile experience. American Banker’s monthly survey shows that 80 percent of bankers are expressing the direct increase in mobile check deposits. Another 62 percent reported their customers transferring funds on the go. To be even considered as competitive, a mobile banking experience must include these top-of-the-line features.
Banks can take a multitude of other factors into account when creating a mobile strategy, especially security. Data provided by CAST software shows that finance and retail industry applications are the most vulnerable to hacking, with 69 percent of financial services applications being especially vulnerable to data breaches. Shoring up data security may be the most important priority for any bank looking to expand mobile banking services.
Security and features are just the basics, but what propels a mobile banking strategy forward? While almost three-quarters of bankers view their banking experience as purely transactional, according to a 2014 study by Accenture, customers are still looking for budgetary advice. Independent online apps are already encroaching on this aspect of the banking industry. Investing in real-time budgetary analysis that can not only record, but predict and advise on customer spending habits would put a mobile experience ahead of the flock. Accenture also indicates that almost 25 percent of customers would actually pay additional fees for this service.
The Cross-Channel Experience
Make no mistake, 27 percent of financial consumers would “consider a branchless digital bank,” according to Accenture. While that is a significant number, 60 percent of retail bank products are still sold directly in the physical branch. Mobile banking doesn’t mean the demise of the other well-established channels such as online banking and in-person branches. In fact, banks that close down branches in favor of mobile- or online-only services could jeopardize that long-standing tradition of excellence on which banks pride themselves. What consumers want is for mobile, online and branch banking services to play well together in the sandbox, creating a seamless banking experience.
Cross-channel, or omnichannel, banking means a consistent user experience for banking customers whether they are face-to-face with the teller or accessing services from home. Though there is still some debate as to how omnichannel banking is fully achieved, a total of 28 percent of American Banker poll respondents agreed that this level of consistency was their ultimate goal.
Mobile banking has an innovative future ahead of it. But the technology and strategy need to be managed correctly, along with mitigating the risk of account opening through faceless and portable channels.
Image Source: Big Stock
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