April 29, 2016

Mobile Banking Strategy: 4 Best Practices to Follow

There is a direct correlation between the increase in mobile phone owners and the use of mobile banking apps over time. Maybe it’s due to the fact that customers feel more comfortable navigating and using apps for every facet of their day-to-day lives. Or maybe it’s because traditional banks are starting to offer the mobile banking experiences customers have been waiting for. Regardless of the reasons, the trend in mobile banking usage is set to continue. By the end of 2016 it’s projected that more than 50% of mobile phone users will also be mobile banking users.

Is your company’s mobile banking strategy as forward-thinking as it needs to be? Try these best practices for improved results.

Retail banks must evolve. They need to match increasing consumer demands and expectations with useful, easy-to-use tools that align with mobile device capabilities. As mobile is projected to be the most prominent touch point and main channel of engagement for banking customers, banks must continuously revise and plan for an evolving mobile strategy as consumers become more skilled and their demands become more complex.

Many banks have already taken a forward-thinking approach for mobile strategy implementation through iterative testing, cross promotional strategies, and cadenced roll-out plans. However, banks can plan mobile strategies to drive more business development while broader and more diverse mobile bankers expect different features to fulfill their financial needs.

Offer the basics today but keep an eye on tomorrow’s tech

There is standard of key features that most retail banks provide to customers as part of their current mobile strategy. These features include:

  • MS alerts
  • A mobile-optimized website
  • Native application which typically consists of:
    • Check image capturing
    • Bill payment
    • Account balances
    • Balance transfers
    • Geo-location services (such as ATM and branch locators)

While these offerings may satisfy mobile bankers today, in the near future, this will not be enough. Unforeseen technological advancements (like a new device) and shifts in why consumers primarily use mobile banking are expected to change. Banks will need to keep up with expectations by implementing strategies that provide differentiated value to their customers beyond what current users are accustomed to seeing today. For example, what happens when wearable payments takeoff? Do the banks of today have the digital strategies in place to provide features to Apple Watch users?

It’s imperative to plan for the next wave of incoming mobile customers and try to predict what they value. This could mean capitalizing on technological advancements and connecting with other non-traditional up-and-coming mobile services like Acorn, Level Up, and Stash.

Segment users and cater to their needs

As the amount of mobile banking users continues to grow, so will the number of new user segments. Longtime user needs will differ from recent adopters—and there is a lot that banks can learn from the latter segment in order to attract new users.

Through proper segmentation, banks can also better provide value to newly acquired mobile users by identifying why it took them so long to adopt in the first place. Did they have security concerns? Were they lacking confidence in their own technological skill set? The answers to these questions can improve customer experience and encourage loyalty as banks can then provide additional instructional content, or security coverage guarantees.

Provide the experiences customers want

Since mobile devices are contextual tools (i.e., small screen, triggered notifications, GPS, camera, voice identification), banks often incorporate native banking apps as part of their mobile strategy. These apps should be designed to match the nature of that experience. For example, as more customers shift channel preferences from desktop, in-person, and online banking to mobile banking, banks will need to meet this demand. They can do this by gaining clear insight into why this shift to mobile banking is happening, and deliver experiences that answer how customers plan to use mobile banking platforms.

Improve visual design

Because mobile banking is by nature done in a locomotive setting, well-thought out visual design goes a long way for those who need to gauge their finances quickly. Mobile strategies must accommodate a small device screen and the difficulty of typing lengthy input.

Non-traditional (non-retail banking) financial services such as Mint have already done so. They provide a clean, one-stop visual dashboard where users can quickly and holistically capture their financial status. Other non-traditional mobile services such as Venmo and Square Cash have capitalized on the immediate nature of the mobile experience through different digital payments options and a newly uncovered customer need: peer-to-peer payment options. This was a missed opportunity by many traditional retail banks who did not position this as a core service offering to their mobile customers.

As the future of mobile banking continues to change and transform, it’s imperative for banks to cater to their customer’s current needs and those that might crop up in the future. This is the best way for banks to navigate potential disruptors and remain competitive within their industry.

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