Click, tap, swipe: the banking app dilemma

In this guest post, Lee Cottle, Director at Push Technology, looks at the state of mobile banking and examines the dilemma thatlee cottle banks experience when trying to provide a good customer service through their banking app.

It’s no secret that customers increasingly prefer to use mobile banking apps to manage their cash ‘on-the-go’ over online banking. In fact, did you know that mobile banking apps are being used around 7,610 times a minute?

Now consider this alongside the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) recent announcement regarding UK banks having to offer the same customer service through its apps as can be found in high street branches. This means that customers will be able to access details of their entire finances through a single mobile phone app by 2018. That’s a whole heap of data from bank statements, transfers, loans, overdrafts, savings, mortgages to name a few, for one person. Multiply this by the estimated 11 million of us who have already decided to swipe instead of log-on.

If our banking app is crashing or buffering for long periods of time because it’s overwhelmed by the vast amounts of data it receives, we’re simply not going to use it – the app will be redundant. Think back to when Natwest and RBS customers were left out in the cold when its banking app glitched, when in reality, a lot could have been done to prevent this.

As a society we are embracing digital technology for simplifying daily tasks. But are banks truly ready for the impending data boom? How can they bolster their smartphone app to meet demand – and if not, what can they do to armour themselves?


Banking on our own terms

We all want easy access to our financial information, and we want to be able to query and manipulate it on our own terms. We all want access to our financial information securely, immediately, both online and via mobile apps – it’s the idea of controlling our money on the go. Thanks to our now connection-obsessed world, some of Generation Y may have never even seen the inside of a bank branch.

Banks need to give customers much, much more. With the potential to digitally question financial transactions, product information such as loans, mortgages and insurance in real-time via a mobile app, banks have only just scratched the surface. For example, we want to be able to instantly message an advisor from a smartphone to get product information or clarify the meaning of a loan agreement. This is just one demand from customers who expect their retail banks to provide instant insights to all aspects of their financial interests in one place instantly.


Trying to connect

Millennials represent the greatest lifetime value of any banking customer. In fact, in 2015 80 per cent of millennials conducted basic banking digitally, and 52 per cent claimed that they prefer non-traditional payment methods (The Financial Brand). We can assume this has since grown. More and more of us are on the go and using a smartphone to bank.

However, if the network is poor, user experience will suffer, and customers will become frustrated. This means that users may look for an alternative bank with a better digital service. With this market steadily growing in importance, it’s vital that an app can deal with the unpredictability of network connections to meet the demanding needs of this new market.


The customer journey

Banks have invested millions in improving customer experience within their branches by building flagship hubs, investing in call centre training and improving omnichannel capabilities. So, why are banks still providing outdated services and products? A good example is to look at the information a consumer may need to place an expense claim at work – you might want to know the details of last month’s statement or be able to check the exchange rate of a transaction made yesterday. We all want to see our financial history, total balance (across all our accounts, savings, loans mortgage, etc) and be able to do so instantly.

Take German online banking company Consorsbank, which has recently created a next-generation consumer retail banking mobile application. The company has revamped their digital offering, creating a high-functioning app that does much more than simply ‘bank’. Customers want to see how they spend their money for work, pleasure, leisure, and lifestyle. Consorsbank thinks beyond the basic features commonly associated with banking apps. Instead, they have developed a seamless platform that acts more like an on-the-go mobile financial concierge or advisor. This has provided the branch customer experience desired by their customers.

In today’s world, consumers are savvy, demanding and on the go; time itself is our most precious asset, so we expect data that is accurate and delivered in the moment. And let’s not forget, all it takes is a split second to make a decision to spend and buy products. To do this and enable customers to manage their assets better, banks must supply a simple view that is accurate and up to the minute.

The truth is, we are embracing digital technology for simplifying daily tasks, and this is the case for the banking industry as much as anywhere else. Banking apps need to be bigger, faster and stronger, and the sooner they are, the better.


Lee Cottle is the Director of Push Technology. Lee has over 20 years’ experience in the software, hardware and services industry, ranging from both start-ups to established multi-billion dollar companies. At Push, Lee is working to broaden the company’s reach across geographies, partners and customers.

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