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Missing: A great mobile banking experience

Increasing numbers of UK consumers are downloading mobile banking apps and utilising them for everyday financial transactions, whether checking balances or transferring money between accounts. Research from CACI and the BBA suggests that customers will use their mobile device to check their current accounts 895 million times in 2015 in the UK, more than double that of branch interactions. It is undeniable that mobile banking apps are a major point of interaction between the bank and the customer, and with nearly one in ten millennials choosing their bank based on the mobile service offered according to uSwitch.com, it is essential that customers feel that they are given a great experience through their smart phone.

But what constitutes a great experience? The majority of mobile banking apps already offer the convenience of a user friendly login, the ability to view their account balances and statements in a user friendly format, as well as the ability to transfer money between their own accounts quickly and payments to payees previously set up via Internet banking. However, there are a number of functions that are overlooked by some UK banks that could seriously improve the customer experience and potentially lead to customer acquisition.

Not being able to add new payees within the app is a bug bear for a lot of UK consumers. Whilst some apps do offer the ability to set up new payees and consumers generally understand that it is restricted in others due to security concerns, the ability to make payments to whoever they want, wherever they are is something that would seriously add to the convenience of the mobile banking app.

As most consumers have their mobile phone with them the majority of the time, the requirement by many UK banks to log into Internet banking systems (and find their keypad or payments dongle) to pay someone new is not conducive to a friendly user experience or an omni-channel experience for that matter (something a lot of banks are striving for at the moment). Yes, I am aware of Paym and other measures banks offer to enable payments to be made to mobile contacts, however to that I say: firstly, not all banks are signed up and if they are, not all of them call this service Paym (just to make things even more confusing!); secondly, not all mobile banking users have registered; and finally, some people just don’t trust making a payment to a mobile number.

As discussed, consumers want to be able to carry out transactions here and now. If they don’t want to log into their Internet banking system to add a new payee, they certainly do not want to have to visit a bank branch to pay in a cheque. Thankfully cheque imaging services on mobile banking apps are starting to be rolled out in the UK (hooray!), and this is certainly a feature that should be included in all UK mobile banking apps. It will provide a major benefit to consumers who lead increasingly busy lives and struggle to find time to go to a bank branch during opening hours to deposit a cheque, which then takes up to five working days to clear.

There are a couple of additional niggles I have that, if included in banking apps, would be beneficial to consumers. Consumers can often sign up for new products through their mobile banking app, however to actually open an additional account some banks require consumers to sign and send back paperwork sent to their home address. Again, consumers are aware that this is for their security, however to be able to open basic savings accounts or ISAs through their app would undoubtedly be a nice feature. Finally, although transfers between accounts is the norm in all mobile banking apps, some apps make it difficult to view credit transactions and make payments to these accounts, for example making additional mortgage payments. Ironing out these small issues would boost the user experience significantly.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and I am aware that some mobile banking apps in the UK do offer these features. However, with CACI and the BBA predicting that by 2020 customers will use their mobile to manage their current account 2.3 billion times a year – more than internet, branch and telephone banking put together, it is more important than ever that banks ensure they provide mobile banking customers with the functionality they need to carry out their day-to-day banking activities.

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