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Posts Tagged ‘mobile apps’

New Report: Mobile Apps for Wealth Management

Monday, May 30th, 2016

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The question for wealth managers is no longer if they should have a mobile app, but how they can develop a winning mobile app to provide them with an essential competitive advantage.

Almost eight years ago, in July 2008 the Apple App store was launched and Google Play followed only a few months later. Since then the app market has grown, apps have become an essential part of our lives and the technical possibilities have developed a lot. The wealth management industry is typically not among the first movers when it comes to technical innovations but we have seen that the market of mobile apps for wealth management is slowly but surely catching up. In our latest study Mobile Apps for Wealth Management we have analyzed the mobile apps of 30 of the biggest wealth managers worldwide. We have found that in contrast to the previous years, the number of wealth managers that offer dedicated apps to their wealthy clients has increased (from 63% in 2015 to 82% in our latest 2016 study).

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Mobile banking: How a convenient user experience may threaten your clients

Friday, August 7th, 2015

The smartphone business is booming with breakout successes like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and the mobile usage is growing at a fast-pace to the detriment of laptops/ internet from home use. It should not be surprising that criminals have also adapted to the new trends and more than 1.3 million unique smartphone attacks have been reported from January to October 2014.

While one of the main causes is the increasing amount of mobile transactions and payments, the multitude of digital communication tools like the real-time apps helping advisers improve communication with their clients also keep clients engaged with their mobile devices. High-net worth clients are attractive targets for mobile security breaches as they mostly manage their wealth while on the way and use unsecured Internet access points (see our report on the mobile behavior of the affluent and HNWI).

But what are the main factors driving security breaches of mobile apps in the banking field? MyPrivateBanking’s recently released report on Mobile Apps for Wealth Management 2015 found that secure client authentication is still being neglected by many wealth managers. Few of the evaluated wealth managers /private banks are using the gold standard to protect clients’ data by making use of a full two-factor authentication procedure plus adding a multi-layered anti-fraud framework. Striving to provide their clients with a convenient, easy-to-access information, some wealth management apps even allow users to log-in with only their 5-digits passcode thus ignoring the fact that these weak security measures make their clients easy prey for hackers who illegally try to access personal data.

One of the main areas of risk, which is often being neglected by banks, is that criminals are targeting not only the secured spaces where transactions are being made by clients but also other apps/features where they are able to identify personal data (for instance address, birthdate or trivial things like shopping coupons). Putting together this information can easily lead to so called identity theft, enabling criminals to break into even better secured systems.

Wealth managers should think hard about an integrated and broad security strategy, even if they have to sacrifice a bit of convenience for their clients to gain gold standard security.

 

Why wealth managers need to communicate about app security

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Given the recent waves of massive security breaches and the increasing data manipulation, high-net-worth clients are justified in being anxious about their personal data being stolen and used by hackers and fraudsters.

Banks and wealth managers continue to ignore the fact that their clientele and prospective clients do not want to lose control over their information. As our new report on Mobile Apps for Wealth Management 2015 shows, out of the evaluated mobile core apps of 30 leading wealth managers worldwide, only 40% use the app store to inform clients about security.

Security measures of most mobile banking apps are not clearly communicated in the available app stores. An accurate description of banking or trading apps should certainly make it clear how users’ personal data is being used and protected in the app.

Initiatives that already give users the right and ability to learn what security measures banks integrate in their apps are successful in inspiring a feeling of transparency and trustfulness. Keeping the language easy to read and reflected in a clear and concise style is key to inform about the app’s necessary high security and encryption standards.

Wealth managers need to understand that their wealthy clients expect to be informed about an app’s security means before downloading it.

 

How Starbucks is winning the mobile payments war

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Technology giants, start-ups and retailers like Google, PayPal, Starbucks, Square, and Stripe have moved on from just threatening and competing against the traditional banks to dominating the mobile payments arena.

Starbucks is the new model of success in mobile payments with an impressive comeback after the unsuccessful partnership with Square in 2014. The Seattle-based coffee giant has made mobile payment strategy a top priority and continued to invest in its own in-house mobile payment systems. The result is remarkable: over 8 million mobile transactions per week, 16 million active users of its mobile app, which translates into nearly 19% of all mobile transactions in US stores.

The brilliant idea behind Starbucks’ “Mobile Order & Pay” system combines the convenience of a simple payment tool, which works on the majority of smartphones, with the benefit of a well-thought loyalty program. The app’s success is not only driven by the ease of payment (“shake to pay” and give a digital tip to the barista) but also by the remarkable set of supplementary features (loyalty program, manage Starbucks card, send Starbucks gifts to friends etc.).

There is yet no confirmation about a possible white-labelling solution of the mobile payment app. However, ‘Mobile order& pay’ will surely trigger a wave of similar solutions either brought up by tech giants or by other consumer companies willing to pay the price for a bespoke solution. Either way, given the rapid acceleration in mobile device purchases and millennials’ hunger for convenient mobile payment solutions like digital wallets, credit card companies and banks are vulnerable to lose a substantial number of mobile customers.

At MyPrivateBanking we believe that customers will choose a non-bank mobile app over a bank’s mobile solution if it offers more convenience and interesting add-on features. It is not enough for banks to launch their own mobile wallets. To gain market share and penetration banks need to think hard about the smart add-ons for their payment solutions: Loyalty programs, preferential treatment when ordering or buying things in high-profile store chains, and many other innovative features will require banks to think like FMCGs (fast moving consumer good companies) rather than old fashioned retail banks. This will be the hardest challenge.

 

Use Pinterest’s new app store to promote your banking apps

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Many banks and wealth managers are happy once their great new banking or wealth management app is uploaded to the app store(s). They start promoting the app to their client base and advertise it on their webpage. And that’s where the story usually ends.

Our analysts are often dismayed how difficult it is to find the right banking app in the app  store or on the Internet. If a client does not know the precise name of the app, she might not be able to find the app at all. Existing clients can at least be targeted and informed directly by the bank. But what about prospective customers? A wealth manager might just have launched this wonderful research app with great new features. It would be an awesome tool to convince potential new clients to check out the wealth manager. Yes, it would and it could. But prospects hardly find this new app. Because banks hardly think about app marketing, app search and app promotion.

Pinterest is a place where people check out new things. Cook recipes. Fashion. Gadgets. And beginning in this week, there will be also the Pinterest app store for iOS apps only (at this point). iPhone and iPad users can download apps directly from Pinterest without going to the app store. I think this is one great example how banks should start thinking about app promotion. Recommending an app with cool images. Getting your app on the smart phones and tablets of prospective clients is becoming more and more important for promoting a wealth management organization and ist capabilities. The Pinterest app store is just one option.

 

Should banks invest in Windows Phone apps?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

(by Francis Groves, Senior Analyst)

Windows 10, due for release on Wednesday January 21st, is being reported as Microsoft’s latest effort to establish itself in the smartphone business. At first glance this looks like a lost cause with sales of Windows smartphones globally only making up 3% of global sales in the third quarter of 2014. With such poor market penetration, many mobile app developers are simply not including Windows in their calculations. Certainly, MyPrivateBanking’s findings on app deployment by financial institutions suggest that Windows smartphone users are very rarely catered for.  In some cases Microsoft is reported to have been paying important developers to develop Windows phone apps.

In these adverse circumstances, Microsoft is doing what it can to make its mobile platform more appealing to app developers and mobile app market. With regard to Windows 10 this means that developers are going to be able to adapt compatible applications available on personal computers more easily to mobile use.

Many commentators seem to hold the opinion that nothing that Microsoft can do can overcome their original late entry into the mobile market and the relative failure of Windows smartphones ever since. A contrarian view might be that Microsoft still remains supreme in terms of work-place computing, even if not in terms of devices used by workers, and there might yet be ways to grow the market for Windows as a mobile platform by leveraging the average office’s reliance on Windows on its laptops/desktops.

To a large extent the success (or failure) of different platforms for mobile has been a matter of fashion. So which way does fashion flow, from experience of technology in a work context into leisure and recreational activities or the other way around? Sadly for Microsoft, we think that apps for recreation are the trendsetters BUT there may be hope for Windows in some contexts where the purchasing decisions lie with employers rather than individuals. Apps for staff ‘on the road’ or ‘in the field’ are big business though not as high profile apps for leisure. And, of course, increasing numbers of people have more than one smartphone in their possession; my work mobile - as opposed to my mobile - is common.

In terms of mobile apps for wealth management clients, we expect that they will continue to be content with apps for Android and iOS, where all their other after-work app requirements are being met. But if Microsoft were to come up with awe-inspiring developments in cloud computing  or Internet security or its natural language research program, Windows as a mobile platform could have a new start in life.

 

“WhatsApp in Wealth Management? –five reasons why private banks should pay attention to messaging apps”

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Early this year WhatsApp has been acquired by Facebook for 19 bn USD - not without reason this acquisition has been well above estimated company value. Signs are good that WhatsApp will grow the current 450 million subscribers to reach 1 billion. The mobile app has been initially a mere alternative to SMS but has grown to become a blend of messenger and social media channel. Other messenger apps like WeChat (a strong contender in Asia) or Skype are also throwing their hat in the ring.

But what can private banks and wealth managers learn from WhatsApp and other messenger apps?

  • Convenience. Clients are using the WhatsApp messenger as it is convenient to follow conversations, send pictures and because they immediately get notice if someone is available. Allowing clients to contact their advisor whenever she is online is a powerful tool. Wealth managers should go and fetch it.
  • It’s not a teenager thing anymore. Social media channels in general enjoyed a reputation of being only for a young audience. This age barrier has vanished and more and more older users are being drawn into using apps, social media and messenger features.
  • WhatsApp is planning a telephone function and will in general broaden its functionality. Besides the possibility to conveniently chat or leave messages to advisor/ client soon a telephone function will be broadly available for the app - making the application more flexible than it is already today.
  • Messaging is not email. The hurdle to write an email is way higher compared to messaging, which combines the benefits of chat functions with the option to leave emails. There is no need for all flowery phrases for every message you write. Its fast, it’s fun, it’s what clients want.
  • Everybody knows it. Some wealth managers provide their own contact functions via app – that’s great and important. But WhatsApp is already known by the customer. Allow clients to stay in their comfort zone without having to learn a new technology. Most likely your relationship managers use it already, too.

Wealth managers and private banks need to think about how to leverage mobile messenger technology for their own business. It can be by using existing popular messengers like WhatsApp for some communication. Another option is the integration of similar messaging features in existing banking apps. And keep in mind: these options are not mutually exclusive.

 

The Best Five Client Meeting Features

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Having researched the performance of the main players in the market in our report, ‘Mobile Apps for Financial Advisors 2014’, published on Wednesday, MyPrivateBanking’s researchers came across several features that enhance client meetings in a way that is not only new but thrilling, reflecting the sheer scale of technical innovations in this field.

Here are our top-5 for this year:

  1. Co-browsing – A great opportunity to smooth follow-up meetings that saves time and enhances clients’ experience
  2. Client matching app – An increasing trend in the market that enables the end-client to interact with the advisor through an app of their own and to perform portfolio analysis or initiate trades
  3. Community/Chat function – A highly interactive tool that enhances client-advisor relationships through offering a new channel for correspondence and collaboration and generally making the client feel they are connected
  4. Interactive graphical tools – In this area we could see some of the greatest improvements-these tools range from interactive timelines that are linked with affirmative/negative signals to show if goals match (or not) to full multimedia document sharing tools
  5. Sophisticated document management functions – Particularly in combination with the emerging matching client apps, good document management is highly important as a means of keeping clients up-to-date and ‘in the loop’

 

Banking apps – a missed marketing opportunity

Friday, February 28th, 2014

A quick peek preview into the upcoming MyPrivateBanking ‘Mobile Apps for Banking report’ (April 2014) reveals that above all, the lack of interesting marketing content provided for clients and non-clients is one of the banking apps’ major weaknesses.

The majority of banks show an unsatisfactory integration of additional content in their main banking apps. Only a few manage to offer good content promoting the bank and their products. For further information the user is generally referred to the website, opening in a separate browser, which then often has clumsy navigation or looks crammed in on a mobile device. And that is odd, given the fact that the app is the first and foremost contact point for clients with their bank. It’s also startling that so few banks consider the needs of non-clients and offer information prior to the log-in-screen, which could be a good way to inform and attract potential customers. Most of the content is only available behind the password protected walls of the app.

Every physical bank branch displays posters, brochures, client magazines, even multi-media terminals are available, to cross-market products to clients or distribute general information. But the significance of the regular branch office is rapidly shrinking compared to the increasing number of clients who carry their personal branch office in their pockets. It is a huge opportunity to use this mobile channel, which is much more frequently visited by clients than a bricks-and-mortar office, to sell products, advertise services and strengthen the bank’s brand.

 

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.

 
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