In the last couple of years, mobile banking has grown from being a fairly niche channel adopted by only the tech-savvy to one of the most common ways for people all across the world to manage their finances.
But the growth is far from finished, and in many places, the industry is reaching a tipping point, where mobile devices are now the most popular way of interacting with a bank. For instance, in 2015, British consumers were expected to interact with a mobile banking app 895 million times, compared with 427 million branch interactions.
It’s a similar story in other parts of the world. In some developing countries, such as India and China, adoption rates are already approaching 70 per cent, while in the US, a recent report by the Federal Reserve revealed that more than half of smartphone owners with a bank account (53 per cent) had used a mobile banking service in the last 12 months.
What do users want?
But what services are these individuals actually using when they log on to a mobile banking app, and are financial institutions actually providing the tools people want?
According to the Fed’s study, the most popular activity for mobile banking users was checking their balance or reviewing recent transactions, which 94 per cent of users had done in the past 12 months.
However, it is not just informational activities that users are turning to their devices for. Almost six out of ten users (58 per cent) had transferred funds between accounts, while 47 per cent had made a bill payment via a banking app.
The survey also looked at what activities non-users of banking apps would be interested in engaging with. In addition to being able to check their account details, the ability to receive alerts from their banks, such as push notifications when their balance drops below a certain amount, were highlighted as being valuable. One in four non-users said they would be open to using these features in the right circumstances.
Getting non-users on board
The Fed’s report indicated that currently, three-quarters of people who do not use mobile banking apps have no interest in doing so. However, this drops to just 54 per cent if users feel the industry has addressed any concerns they have about the channel.
This shows there is still a great amount of untapped potential waiting for banks to exploit, if banks can demonstrate to sceptical users that it is a convenient and secure channel. For instance, security and privacy remain top concerns for many people.
More than four out of ten mobile phone owners (42 per cent) said that their personal information is unsafe when they use mobile banking. Therefore, if banks want to increase the adoption of mobile solutions, they will have to work hard to prove that their apps are not vulnerable, as well as educate users on what they need to do to stay safe.
An informed customer base
Get this right, and banks are likely to find they end up with a much more aware customer base, who are better-informed about their finances. For instance, 62 per cent of mobile banking users will check their account balance on their phones when contemplating a large purchase, and half of these will decide not to buy an item based on this information.
What’s more, most mobile banking users who receive a low balance alert via their phone will take action in response, such as transferring money into the account (43 per cent), depositing money into the account (36 per cent), or reducing their spending (32 per cent).
These notifications are just one example of how mobile solutions can help banks deliver a better level of service to customers through mobile devices – something that is likely to be appreciated as consumers look to take control over their finances in an increasingly digital world.