MyPrivateBanking Blog
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Posts Tagged ‘Banking apps’

How to lead clients on the right path in the mobile banking app

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Thinking of user paths not only means considering which is the most user-friendly route, but also guiding the user to specific locations within a digital space. When it comes to apps, users have to be guided with care because their actions and responses may be different from those that have been observed for customers on a PC browser, accessing a bank website, for example.  Banks must think of how to guide users to the app in order to get a return on their investment. In the beginning banks were able to attract app users with very simple apps. Now, however, rapid development has raised standards and clever, thoughtfully constructed apps are flooding into the mobile app space. In order to be able to live up to current expectations of user experience, banks should think through user paths when developing an app and embedding it in its environment.

The following three aspects of user paths are useful to consider:

Finding the app: the interfaces the user will connect to before acquiring an app include the bank’s website and/or the app store from where the app can be downloaded for their device. The website should give an overview of the whole app catalog, provide brief descriptions, screen shots and links to the app stores where the app is available.  The app store where the user will be able to download the app should also have all significant features listed.

Utilizing the app: development of in-app navigation should be closely linked to the objective for which the app has been developed in the first place. If clients are to be persuaded to move from branch banking to mobile banking, banks should provide a mobile banking app that explains, demonstrates and facilitates the process of registering for mobile banking. If a bank wants to support clients by providing a branch finder, a map or list of branches is the primary step - but it shouldn’t end there. Anticipating the information needs of clients with regard to opening hours, services provided and the telephone number of each branch is also necessary. Another example is advertising products: instead of just making banner advertisements, banks can provide simulators which assist the client in the important (financial) questions of life. Within the framework of our current research, we find a lot of banks have developed simulator tools for clients and prospective clients but have missed a vital final step: providing a link so that the app user can apply for the appropriate product or service.

Moving on from the app: an app is relatively strictly confined regarding the depth and breadth of content and functions it can provide and therefore cannot fulfill all client needs. However, considering the devices on which apps operate there are almost infinite possibilities for how banks can continue to interact with the user beyond the boundaries of one app. Providing product and services information in an app, for instance, is a hard task as banking products are often very complex and regulated. A sensible solution would be to outline the distinctive features of a product and then link to the website for further information. Also, communication or help within the app is limited to covering basic questions, perhaps by providing FAQs, for example. However, open questions will remain and, therefore, communication features for various kinds of contact are necessary. For instance, an assistance hotline for technical difficulties will be very useful for less tech-savvy clients. Enabling users to comment on an app by offering a feedback form is a good idea.

Summing up, banks need to consider what they want to achieve by providing an app. Should it be a marketing app or does the bank want to support the user? Which paths would the bank like him or her to go down and which paths are important to the user? In order to be really useful, an app should not only provide the first step along the road to the desired objective but should offer multiple paths of action for the user in order to stay connected with the bank and reach that ultimate goal: increasing the value of the client relationship.


Why banks’ communication fails on app security

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Apps are generally more secure than regular html webpages. There are several reasons for that, most prominently that apps are downloaded from a
walled environment, called app store. This holds also true for banking apps. We’ve asked our contacts at major retail banks worldwide about incidents of fraud through mobile apps. The answer is simple: basically zero. It may  be that Internet criminals have not learned yet how to break into mobile apps but for the time being, bank customers can feel somewhat safer using their mobile app than using web- based banking.

So, why do banks still get an “F” on mobile app security? It’s a communication problem. Our surveys show that many users don’t feel safe
using apps for banking transactions. One major reason is that they fear their bank accounts can be easily manipulated in case the mobile device is

Yet, despite the users’ uneasiness with mobile banking, banks communicate only very hesitantly about the security measures and precautions for mobile banking apps: 34% percent of banking apps contain no information at all on security and 42% fail to do so on privacy issues. This is one of the results of our recent Mobile Apps for Banking 2013 benchmarking report. In addition, the report finds that app store descriptions of mobile banking apps include information on security matters in only 64% of cases.

Banks should take these findings seriously. Mobile banking is becoming ever more popular but a significant portion of potential users are deterred by
security concerns. Every banking app and every app description should  display and explain security features of the app prominently. Users must understand that data encryption of banking transactions is as safe as on the fixed Internet. Log-in procedures and other safety measures should also be clearly communicated. Users’ perception of security will then be as strong as the actual security itself.


Mobile banking apps: improving around the globe

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

The result that strikes me most in our new report about Mobile Apps for Banking is how global and how broad the movement around banking apps is. The top-5 banks in our ranking are from the US, Singapore, France, Australia and the Netherlands. This shows that mobile apps in the finance industry have reallyreached a new stage on a worldwide scale. It is aslo interesting to see that the features and functions across countries are quite similar. Of course, there are lots of differences with regard to quality and content but the best banks provide apps that have comparable ranges of features and functions. But have a read for yourself….


Are Mobile Apps the Answer to Banks’ Mis-selling Problems

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Royal Bank of Scotland’s 2012 results came in today in what the bank said was a ‘chastening’ year. Part of the £5.2 billion of losses was caused by hefty fines for a number of banking mistakes. Among these are a fine of £700 million for mis-selling interest rate swaps to (fairly) small businesses and another for £450 million for mis-selling payment protection insurance to retail bank customers. But could these problems be a thing of the past thanks to mobile technology. If RBS and its peers in the banking industry really want to prevent problems like mis-selling, equipping customer-facing staff with good employee apps covering single lines of banking business (like payment protection) could be the answer. That way the bank could control its employees in a good way with apps that give them information on the bank’s ‘product’ and steer them through a process that truly offers fair value to the customers.

In March MyPrivateBanking Research publishes its report on Mobile Solutions for Financial Advisors, an area where mobile apps are already enabling better (and compliant) interactions with clients. Please keep a look out here for more information.