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Posts Tagged ‘Mobile Apps for Banking 2014’

How retailers embrace omni-channel strategies and what banks can learn from them

Monday, May 5th, 2014

When walking into a Walgreens store (a large pharmacy chain in the US) it is likely that an electronic coupon pops up on your smartphone which advertises the local goods while showing you where to find them in the store. At Macy’s, a major department store chain in the US, customers have access to free WiFi and are able to scan QR codes of products to review online product descriptions, uncensored customer reviews or see for which range it is worth coming back to the store the next week.

Those are only two examples for the brave new world of omni-channel consumer experiences. Be it from home at the desktop computer, on the go with the mobile phone or at the brick and mortar store around the corner, the tech-savvy consumers expect everything to be readily available at their fingertips. According to Google already 90% of mobile users use different devices sequentially to accomplish a task over time. And as the industry evolves toward a seamless omni-channel retailing experience, the distinctions between physical and online will vanish, turning the world into one big showroom without walls. Location based services, augmented reality and social media integration showcase that the opportunities are endless.

Banks and financial institutions however, still seem to have difficulties making first steps towards an omni-channel strategy that basically requires finding a platform that helps to keep messages consistent across different touch points and devices. This is one of the major results of our upcoming report “Mobile Apps for Banking 2014 – from Multi-Channel to Mobile First”. Only a few years ago many banks have made significant investments in Multi-Channel concepts and today they seem to be hesitant to switch quickly to a mostly mobile based strategy. But consumers demand to carry their bank branch in the pocket and therefore it seems unlikely that banks can avoid the mobile re-invention of their business.


War of mobile operating systems undecided – banks should broaden offer

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Android rocks the market and hits 81 per cent of smartphone share in the last quarter of 2013 worldwide. Google´s operating system grew by an impressive 51.3% compared to last year. The winner besides Android was Windows Phone with a massive growth rate of 156% but accounting for less than 5% of the overall market. Apple´s operating system has lost 1.5% of market share but still managed to grow shipped devices by 25% compared to the last year. Blackberry, is the loser of the last year´s race of operating systems with a loss of 40%.

Which operating systems should bank´s consider for the development of mobile banking solutions?

Our underlying assumption is the more operating systems are available the broader a reach will a bank have with regard to client base and spent time on apps. Therefore an app for a single operating system is not an option. Clearly, there is no way around Android´s operating system. Surprisingly, there are still banks which do not provide a single app for this dominant OS.

As our upcoming report on Mobile Apps for Banking 2014 shows, banks have been and are developing mainly for iOs devices, treating Android in many cases as a second choice. Numerous apps (especially supporting apps) were only available for iOs whereas only two apps were exclusively for Android.

The demographic profile of iOs users is at this point somewhat more attractive to banks: the users of iOS are more likely to be 35 or older and are more likely to have a household income of USD 2000k or above per anno (source: Hunch Inc.). But that should not lead banks to believe that only iOS users are an attractive segment. Even though Android users at this point might be somewhat younger and poorer, this will quickly change over the coming years as these users are growing up and moving to professional life. We are not expecting that many of them will change their operating system preference to iOS on that journey.

But banks should also consider developing for Windows Phone right now since the operating system is growing immensely and the market is not yet overcrowded. Research for the upcoming Mobile App for Banking report shows that Windows strong app development support results in better performing and full-experience apps - essentials to impact on customer retention and attract potential new clients.

As for Blackberry clearly the user profile, with an average older and wealthier user, has been a strong motivation for banks to develop apps. However, it remains to be seen whether the operating system will survive the current crisis.

For the future we see apps more frequently in different context and on more and more diverse devices. The upcoming report reveals that more banks are investing into the release of Windows 8 apps which are both suitable for tablet and desktop, also several eReader apps crossed our way. Banking apps will grow into all kinds of devices such as television and wearables like Google Glass and smart watches. This trend will continue and extend to devices today unimaginable and only inspired by science fiction (but becoming reality soon…).


Innovative payment options - Banks are slowly catching up

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The mobile payment industry grew substantially in 2011. There were already 212 million m-payment users at that time and the numbers have been growing significantly ever since. In past years, the largest banks worldwide were slow in adopting innovative payment functions, but now they are starting to catch up with industry trends. We will introduce some of the best payment options that we encountered while evaluating mobile banking solutions for the current Mobile Apps for Banking Report.

Contactless payments allow users to pay for in-store purchases by mobile phone without needing to provide a banking or credit card. CIBC Mobile Banking is an example of this, as it allows the bank’s clients to pay for their groceries, grab a coffee or buy a movie ticket with just a tap of their smartphones. Also, Itaú QR Card enables customers to make day-to-day payments by scanning QR codes of participating partners’ products, with the receipts being automatically forwarded to the client´s postal address.

People-to-people payments are ideal if users want to pay friends, family or acquaintances without needing their bank account details. Various alternatives are available on the market to satisfy different client needs. Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s app collection provides a solution for paying contacts by e-mail, mobile phone or even Facebook accounts. With the addition of another useful feature, clients of National Bank of Australia can also generate QR codes to request payments from their contacts.

Wallets commonly function like a virtual prepaid card that users can create by utilizing the app. BBVA provides such a virtual wallet and cross-sells small credit lines through an included financing calculator. The app allows users to directly calculate financing options and to apply for a loan in only two steps for purchases made with the credit card.

If clients of NatWest forget their banking or credit card at home they will still be able to get cash. The “Get Cash” option provides a code which clients can use to withdraw cash directly from any of the bank´s cash machines or at major supermarket chains.

Barclays Pingit has always been a front runner in mobile payments, allowing clients and non-clients alike to use the service. The bank has been popular for sending and receiving money using just a mobile phone, and in its latest update the bank has added QR code payment options for offline purchases.

Mobile payments are an increasing trend and there are numerous pathways which banks can choose to add more convenience to their customers’ lives and gain potential client interest. Banks need to pay attention to future trends and determine which payment methods will be dying off in the process in order to keep their mobile apps up-to-date and to win clients’ loyalty.