Just how much potential is there in mobile banking apps?

Mobile banking apps are becoming more popular

Like the internet, smartphones and tablets, mobile apps are a relatively recent phenomenon that feel like they’ve been around forever. For many of us, it’s hard to remember how we got by without those little icons on our phone and tablet screens that make so many everyday tasks so much easier.

In the financial services industry, consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with using apps to complete basic tasks like checking their account balance or transferring money. But recent developments have suggested that apps have much more to offer.

Canada’s second-largest bank, Toronto-Dominion Bank, this year launched the TD MySpend app, a transaction-tracking tool that informs users if they are spending more or less than usual, based on their past habits. Customers see red, yellow or green messages based on their spending in categories like dining out, entertainment and travel.

TD Bank had not initially intended for the app to encourage change in consumer behavior, but it has caught on thanks to its ease of use. A fifth of the company’s 3.5 million mobile banking customers have downloaded the app since it was launched in April.

Rizwan Khalfan, chief digital officer at the bank, told Reuters: “The real-time nature encourages customers to change their behavior toward their financial goals. We were not expecting this.”

Another financial institution that has taken an innovative approach to its mobile banking app is Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

The Edinburgh-based bank recently announced a number of upgrades to its app, including an extensive redesign to make the tool more user-friendly for blind and partially sighted people. The Royal National Institute of Blind People helped the bank to make 160 visual and audio modifications to the app.

Martin Wise, director of digital banking at RBS, said: “I’m particularly proud of the fact that we’ve made major changes to the design to make it far easier for our blind and partially sighted customers to use. Our customers now do more of their banking on their mobile phone than on their computer.”

With consumers showing no signs of scaling back their mobile use and banks around the world continuing to innovate, it will be fascinating to see how banking apps grow and evolve in the years to come.

Written by Jack Dougal

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