A rudimentary mobile banking website doesn’t cut it anymore. Thirty-one percent of US smartphone owners use mobile banking more than any other app and 91% of those who use a mobile banking app prefer that over going into a branch. Your mobile banking app needs to more than just exist, it needs to be best in class. As consumers continue to shift toward mobile banking, so too will they gravitate toward the financial institutions that offer the very best mobile optimized banking experiences.

To win over today’s consumers—particularly the coveted Millennial and Gen Z demographics—banks must offer mobile optimized banking with value-adds that extend beyond the basics.  Offering an app with features such as bank account management, bill pay, deposits, ATMs/branch locator, and peer-to-peer payments was cutting edge not long ago, but now it’s simply the industry standard.  Consumers expect that and more.

The banks with the competitive advantage now have mastered those basic tenets of mobile banking and continue to develop additional opportunities.  Building out your mobile business will not only help you maintain your members and attract new ones, but it will also expand your base of highest value customers.  Mobile bankers are more profitable and more likely to recommend your business to others.  Compared to branch-only customers, mobile bankers tend to bring 72% more revenue to banks and 36% more to credit unions.  Not investing adequately in mobile is a huge missed opportunity for your institution and is passing up returns like these to the biggest banks that have already been dominating mobile.

Below are four key areas to focus on as you boost your mobile banking game.


1. Mobile Optimized Banking Navigation

A mobile optimized banking website is more than just a website that can be accessed by phone.  The website must automatically adapt to mobile so that the interface is intuitive to a mobile visitor.  Buttons should be enlarged for ease of clicking and stacked vertically, rather than next to each other, to better fit the phone screen.  The user sign-in field should be front and center, as that is the most common destination. Make sure that information such as location addresses or phone numbers are clickable for easy mapping or calling.  In general, minimize the number of fields in the experience, as that can be laborious for a mobile user. There are short-cuts you can integrate, such as allowing customers to use the camera to capture their information (such as a license or passport) and thumb-print capabilities for authentication.  When designing (or renovating) your mobile banking app, always bring it back to convenience, simplicity, and seamlessness.


Bank Marketing Guidebook

To stay relevant and competitive in this new economy, your financial institution must be part of the digital conversation, but where do you start?


2. Online Account Opening

The option to open a new bank or credit union account on a mobile device (without requiring branch support) is only available at a handful of financial institutions (fewer than 25%).  By offering this ability on your app to prospective customers—and, again, by optimizing that process for the mobile channel—your business will be significantly ahead of most banks in the game.  You can facilitate the experience by saving a user’s session if they begin to open up an account with your bank but do not complete the process in one sitting.  If they can pick up right where they left off when they’re ready to resume, you will eliminate the risk of losing their business due to the agony of restarting the process all over again.


3. Protect Customers From Mobile Banking Security Threats

Security is critical when it comes to digital money management.  Leading banks are using blockchain technology to maximize security against fraud and other common scams.  In addition to creating an overall positive banking experience, first-rate customer service is also an important component in security and mitigating against potential breaches.  For example, if a member has an after-hours request or a time-sensitive issue—such as a lost or stolen card—and they can instantly go through steps in your banking app to deactivate it and prevent identity theft, that is a huge customer service benefit.  Artificial Intelligence chatbots can aid these sort of processes and are becoming more widely adopted by banks as efficient and less costly (by 50%-90%!) customer service representatives.


4. Financial Wellness Tools & Other Resources

What’s next when Gen Z and Millennial consumers have come to expect mobile banking to be the best of the best and meet all their basic needs?  Meet their non-basic banking needs, too. Address needs that perhaps weren’t even at the forefront of their mind until you presented it to them.  Always keep your eyes open for opportunities to enhance their banking experience and supplement it with additional resources and benefits. Leverage analytics and consumer insights from their past interactions, habits, and purchase decisions to personalize tips and recommendations for them.  Form partnerships with fintech companies to offer educational tools. Provide external APIs so your customers can take advantage of high-quality external content.  By the end of the year, half of all global Tier 1 and 2 banks will offer at least five external APIs.  Gathering and analyzing insights within your unique consumer demographic can reveal what your specific audience wants most out of their mobile banking experience and allow you to better meet their needs.


These mobile banking trends are prevalent among the largest financial institutions and emerging digital-only challenger banks and Millennials have been gravitating toward these options largely for that reason.  Forty-six percent of all US consumers have increased their use of mobile banking in the past year.  It’s critical that your financial institution implements these best practices, if you haven’t already, in order to keep up and stay cutting edge, particularly as members of younger generations start taking charge of their personal finances.  In a mobile banking climate where the bar is high, the key to standing out from competitors is mastering consumers’ basic needs while also adding unique and innovative offerings to the mix.


Bank Marketing Guidebook

To stay relevant and competitive in this new economy, your financial institution must be part of the digital conversation, but where do you start?


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