Mobile banking now mainstream but many customers left unsatisfied

Mobile banking now mainstream but many customers left unsatisfied

More than three quarters of America's top 100 banks now offer mobile services but, although increasingly ubiquitous, finance-related apps often leave users frustrated.

According to a report from First Annapolis Consulting, 81 of the top 100 US financial institutions now offer some form of mobile banking, an 11% increase on a year ago.

In addition to offering access through smartphone apps and the mobile Web, 60 offer some form of alerts or account management functionality via SMS, and 26 banks have also launched tablet-optimised apps.

The types of features offered through phones are becoming more advanced as well, with mobile remote deposit capture inclusion tripling in the last year and P2P payments adoption also on the rise, led by the largest banks.

Currently, nine banks offer the option to redeem credit card rewards inside their app and eight are engaged in some form of partnership or trial for a mobile wallet concept.

"The findings from the study indicate that banks are beginning to leverage their mobile applications to build a 'pathway to payments' by enabling features like bill payment and P2P," says Paul Grill, partner, First Annapolis Consulting.

Meanwhile, a survey of 600 Americans by the Adcom Group for Virtual Hold Technology shows that finance apps are gaining in popularity, coming in behind only entertainment, games, social media and news when respondents were asked which categories they most use.

However, satisfaction levels are less impressive, with 70% of users saying that they have experienced points of frustration that limited their ability to achieve real-time goals.

Nearly a quarter say that they have had their Internet connection drop, while a similar percentage has seen an app freeze or crash, 17% have been unable to open apps and 10% have had set-up issues.

When these problems cannot be quickly and easily resolved, the study shows these customers get frustrated, with consequences for the provider. After experiencing a dead end, 29% are less likely to recommend the company to a friend or colleague.

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 05 November, 2012, 07:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

25%: App freeze or crash; 17%: Unable to open apps. These problems are often linked to drop in Internet connection (a separate 25%), pushing up the incidence of this root cause to 67%. In other words, two-thirds of problems are beyond the control of the bank that provides the mobile app. It is customary for mobile apps (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) and even some desktop apps (e.g. Google AdWords, Skype) to be built with additional resilience so that they are able to stay connected or reestablish connectivity on the face of fading or broken Internet connections. However, security forces banking apps to do exactly the opposite: Deactivate the app after a minute or two of inactivity, even if the Internet connection is fine. Therefore, mobile banking apps are stuck between a rock and a hard place: Break the session and frustrate users, persist the session and compromise security. The only way out I see is for them to build similar resilience but focus on non walled-garden functionality that don't have to be deactivated at all. There was a blog post on Finextra a few months ago - can't locate it now - that provided a list of useful features for mobile banking that did not require customers to log on.