The best services are ones that reduce friction and increase customer benefit, and mobile banking apps are winning on both counts. Will Jones, President, EMEA, Monitise, examines some newly-released industry insights, and concludes that banking apps, and the convenience they offer, have triggered an amazing and unexpected shift in user behavior. Financial institutions and marketers alike are well-advised to take note of this change and take advantage of the opportunities to generate new revenues and encourage new levels of customer engagement.
Mobile banking apps don’t only offer up previously unimaginable response rates from people who use them to check accounts or conduct transactions; they are causing a sea change in customer behaviour.
Empowered by their personal mobile devices to engage in personal financial services, customers are reaching to apps to do more than ever. And new data from RBS Group shows just how the convenience of mobile apps is impacting the lives of customers in the U.K.
First, mobile apps are allowing customers to conduct their banking without entering a physical branch office. RBS reports that mobile apps, because they allow customers to manage their money on the move, save their customers a total 96 million hours every year. Apps also save their customers 24 million miles of travel.
For individuals juggling busy lives, this equates to 24 hours saved per person per year, and 73 miles shaved off the distance they must travel.
Some 20 years ago, customers would visit a branch in person, but the advance of banking apps means key transactions can now be carried out on smartphones, thus saving the customer an average of four trips a month to the bank branch office.
The convenience offered by banking apps has also encouraged customers to use what was previously their ‘downtime’ to conduct banking business.
In fact, RBS Group reveals that 7:17 AM is the most popular time for customers to make a mobile payment on the app.
In addition, 8:06 AM is the time when the majority of log-ins to mobile banking occur, as people start their day with a quick balance check to see how their finances are.
It all points to the changing relationship financial institutions have with their consumers as a result of mobile.
Banks now present their brand and their services minute-by-minute to their customers on their mobile devices. This daily interaction heralds unprecedented benefits — and opportunities — for financial institutions that are digital-first.
Clearly, successful mobile banking offerings are just the first step in a wider strategy to deliver on customer demands for convenience and seamlessness. Indeed, consumers want to access the latest functionality — whether that means peer-to-peer mobile payments or quick balance updates — and they want any new service to work seamlessly and without delay.
RBS Group has already seen rapid uptake of its own mobile offering, with three million customers actively using their mobile app and 100 million transactions made in 2013. Furthermore they have discovered that on average their users check their accounts daily.
The RBS data shows that banks can — and do — enjoy new levels of engagement with their customers via their mobile app. The question is: how can banks in general maintain the momentum and ensure that their mobile app stays on the front-screen of users’ smartphones and top of mind with customers?
The answer, in my view, is mobile commerce.
Mobile apps, which customers clearly already trust to handle day-to-day payments, balances and account transactions, are also perfectly placed as an engaging and trusted channel to present and sell other products and services. Of course, these offers must be relevant to the user.
This is the essence of mobile commerce – and where networks of retailers could also play a part in the mobile app experience that is relevant and contextual.
Imagine I have a golfing holiday deposit in my account statement. My banking app could send me an in-app notification of a golf equipment promotion at a local retailer and use my mobile app to map the way to the bricks-and-mortar retail outlet where I can make the purchase. But it doesn’t have to be a physical shop. My banking apps could also deep link to an online retailer offering golf equipment.
The point is: the bank app is already saving me time and effort, so why shouldn’t a banking app offer an even more convenient experience by presenting me with discounts and promotions I might like?
The key takeaway: Financial institutions have the opportunity to do much more with their mobile presence.
RBS data shows that customers already reach to their mobile apps and regard them as useful. The habitual use of these apps means banks have consumer ‘eyeballs’ on their platform 28-40 times a month.
Banks can tap this interaction to enhance their brand by being even more useful and at the same time opening up new revenue streams with commerce content. But this opportunity requires quick action. In this fast-moving, connected world, if banks don’t start offering such services, their competition just might.
Monitise specializes in Mobile Money (banking, paying and buying via a mobile device) and counts more than 350 banks among its clients and some 30 million registered users of its services. Payments and transfers initiated via Monitise technology are worth $88 billion on an annualized basis and 4.0 billion transactions a year take place via Monitise’s implementations.
RBS Group is a long-standing customer of Monitise. The bank’s mobile app, developed by Monitise, was released in 2011. Since then the companies have worked together to enhance the RBS mobile banking services offer with innovations such as cardless cash withdrawals and the ability to make person-to-person payments using a mobile number.
Will Jones has over 20 years’ experience in financial services. Prior to joining Monitise Will was Head of Retail Innovation, RBS Retail Banking, where he was instrumental in driving forward rapid deployment of new customer propositions. He was on the executive team that launched Egg, the U.K.’s first online investment supermarket and savings business.
Welsh-born Will Jones has always been interested in technology and “how stuff works.” He’s a self-confessed “petrol head”, and was previously a rally co-driver, winning the British Rallying Championship with his partner in 1995. Nowadays he’s a keen motorsports photographer in his spare time.
For more views, insights and whitepapers on mobile banking, payments and commerce, visit the Monitise Insights blog http://www.monitise.com/insights/
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