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The Ever Evolving World of Mobile Banking

Danny Payne
Dec 11, 2013

Danny Payne Author: Danny Payne,

I tend to shy away from dedicating a blog post to mobility.  But I can’t shy away from the fact that mobile is trending.  In a post I did last year, I wrote about internet banking, mobile banking, and everything in between.  I talked about the idea of tablets revolutionizing what we recognize as mobile banking.  So in this post, I will stay with that theme and also focus on why more people are using mobile and why people will keep using mobile.  And I promise I won’t overuse the word innovation or innovative while I try to describe the ever evolving world of mobile banking.

No surprises here, we live in an on-demand world.  “I need to look really quickly…” “This will only take a second…” “Let me check my phone…”  “I think there’s an app for that…” 

Financial institutions large and small are drawn into the same demand for mobility.  It starts with the need for fast and easy access to balances and cleared checks/debits and quickly moves to bill pay, mobile deposit, and mobile personal financial management.  And it seriously starts happening that fast.  Am I the only person that remembers a not too distant past where Chase was running ads for text alerts for your account balance?  That’s right SMS text alerts.  Text it with me - OMG! That was so 2010.  Now we are recreating internet banking on a mobile device.  As soon as you know it, you (the FI) have purchased a full suite of mobile products while your customers were asking you for the ability to see their account activity on their mobile device.  Now don’t read this the wrong way, all of the bells and whistles are important.  Those services are what creates that “sticky” environment I am going to refer to a little later.  But as a buyer, you need to understand it isn’t as simple as saying, “I need to get mobile banking turned on.”  It is complex and it’s always changing.  There are startups everywhere in the mobile banking space.  And remember, mobile is more than your fancy phone.  You have to think about all those tablet devices and the real estate they provide for your users.  When picking a mobile product, you want to make sure you have a slick tablet app too!  And do you focus your decision on the better tablet app or phone app?  In my humble opinion, you better spend time on both.

So let’s stop for a second and talk about why people use mobile, and why they come back.  First, why do your online users move to using a mobile device instead of just using online banking like they always did before?  The answer is complicated - they do still use online banking.  They haven’t abandoned that slick new online banking product you are so proud of and just installed last year.  They are still there and probably still do a lot of their personal business there.  It is likely they use it during business hours and probably still pay their bills using it a couple times a month.  So don’t worry, your investment into internet banking is not being wasted or left behind.  The truth is, the mobile customer is normally your power user.  This is the user that jumps into your mobile app when they need to check their balance, see if a debit/check has cleared, send a payment to someone they know (P2P), make an expedited payment, or deposit a check.  You see, all of those things may take the better part of two minutes and their mobile/tablet device is right there to take care of that.  Not to mention, after hours, around the house, on the couch, it may be easier to jump on the tablet or phone to balance the checkbook or take a look at what is left in the account after a shopping spree.  So you see, mobile can be a quick fix, but why will they keep coming back?  And what needs to be in your mobile banking product to make sure they do?

There are a few vital product offerings that bring adoption to life in the mobile banking products.  Here they are:

  1. Bill Pay – users need the ability to schedule a payment on the move.  Enhanced mobile banking products will also offer services like add a payee, P2P, future dated payments, recurring payments, picture pay, and the ability to edit or cancel payments.
  2. Remote Deposit Capture – The ability to deposit a check from the office, the road, or the couch is the true essence of mobile banking.  Premium solutions make the picture taking process a snap, and can offer real time posting to your core system.
  3. PFM – The ability to view spending habits, spending against budget, or spending categories is a must have for most users who probably live on some kind of budget and finally have the ability to track where money is going on a monthly basis.  More robust mobile banking solutions will also offer the ability to aggregate other accounts into your mobile experience and allow you to track spending that is happening across your FI account and your card accounts.
  4. Consistency – This isn’t a product or service as much as it is a preference.  Your users are going to adapt better and be more comfortable if the environment for internet banking, tablet banking, and mobile banking are consistent. It allows you to know where to click and find what you are looking for and are comfortable with.  Adoption and recurring use is all about ease.

Remember, these mobile banking guys are pushing the envelope and developing something new while I am typing this post.  In no way am I saying these four things are the only innovative (sorry… I couldn’t help myself) services offered in mobile banking.  But these are the most used services your customers will be looking for when asking your institution to “go mobile”.  Not to mention, these are the primary services your competition across the street is already offering.  There are a lot of great companies out there and they offer a number of terrific products. Mobile banking is a moving target and a changing world.  I don’t know about you, but I am excited to see what‘s next, and what keeps pushing more and more customers to that mobile banking experience.

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