By : Dan Weis
June 14, 2018 08:00 AM
Consumer use of mobile banking applications is accelerating at a rapid pace. In the US, nearly one third of people (31 percent) use mobile banking more than any other app on their smartphone. Only logging onto social media (55 percent) and checking the weather (33 percent) are more common mobile activities.
This is according to the 2018 Mobile Banking Study from Citi, which revealed that 46 percent of US consumers have increased their use of mobile banking in the past year. Eight out of 10 people (81 percent) now use their phone to manage their money on nine days in every month, on average.
Nine out of 10 mobile banking users (91 percent) said they preferred using apps over going into a branch, while 68 percent of millennials said they could see their smartphone replacing their physical wallet.
Alice Milligan, chief digital client experience officer for US consumer banking at Citi, said: "Mobile banking usage is skyrocketing as more consumers experience the benefits of greater convenience, speed and financial insights driven by new app features and upgrades.
"Over the past year we've witnessed this increase in engagement first-hand, with mobile usage in North America increasing by almost 25 percent, and we don't see this trend slowing down any time soon."
These exciting growth trends give rise to inevitable questions about where mobile banking could go from here. What areas of innovation could shape the channel, and how can financial institutions (FIs) keep users engaged and satisfied?
Consumers regularly log onto mobile banking to conduct routine tasks such as checking their balance, transferring funds between accounts and making P2P payments.
But in order to keep people engaged and foster brand loyalty, banks need to show that the range of services available via this channel is constantly expanding - which means more choice and convenience for users.
In-app account opening, instant replacement requests for lost or stolen cards and analytics-based financial insights for individual users could all become more common in the coming years.
Among those who have not yet embraced mobile banking, lack of confidence in security is often cited as one of the key factors holding them back.
The onus is therefore on financial services providers to demonstrate that mobile banking and apps are not only secure, but potentially the safest option of all where user authentication is concerned.
Development of smartphone technology has allowed banking app developers to embrace biometrics, for example, offering a new and highly reliable way for users to confirm their identity.
Most modern-day consumers are accustomed to every app and function on their mobile device being tailored to their unique preferences and needs.
Banking solutions should be no different. In fact, personalization is arguably more valuable in financial services than in any other aspect of consumers’ lives, given the level of importance attached to even the most basic banking processes and financial decisions.
Using data analytics to gain insights from past interactions, customer choices and habits is likely to prove a key part of personalization in the mobile channel. Banks that are able to do this successfully will earn the loyalty of their users.
A fast, easy and frictionless service is a basic necessity of mobile banking for most (if not all) consumers.
For banks, one of the key priorities in the coming years should be finding new ways to maximize speed, simplicity and convenience for app users. This could be driven by the wider deployment of biometric authentication, more effective in-app search functions and fundamental, ongoing processes such as regular updates to make the most of new operating system capabilities.
Continued innovation and evolution on the part of providers will drive increasing mobile banking adoption by consumers in the years to come. Consequently, it might not be long before mobile becomes unrivaled as the primary channel through which people engage with their banks.