12/11/2017

Some Financial Institutions Still Don’t Have Mobile Apps: What They’re Missing

Adam Craig December 11th, 2017
Categories
Customer Engagement

Shoe stores have mobile apps. So does the Smithsonian. You can find apps that help new parents keep track of diaper changes, apps that can help you find a clean restroom while traveling, and apps that let you schedule your dry cleaning for pickup and delivery. It’s the age of the mobile app, and it really does seem there’s an app for just about everything you could want to do, buy or sell.

Why then are there still any financial institutions that don’t have their own mobile apps?

Who are these people?

Approximately 2,000 financial institutions still don’t offer mobile apps, according to Digital Bank Report publisher Jim Marous. It’s difficult to say exactly who these app-less banks are and why they haven’t yet caught up with this critical aspect of the digital transformation, but we can theorize. They are likely to be:

  • Financial institutions with small technology budgets and more pressing technology priorities, such as updating legacy systems and networks.
  • Banks or credit unions positioning for acquisition, who need to keep costs as low as possible.

For those who haven’t yet adopted this technology, it’s worth looking at what you are missing out on.

Moving stats on mobile

Mobile usage has been trending upward ever since organizations like Pew Research first began tracking it. According to Pew Research’s FactTank, mobile usage has more than doubled since 2011 when they first surveyed people on the topic. Today, 77 percent of American adults own a smartphone, and the number of lower-income users and 50-plus users has increased sharply in the past year, Pew says. Ninety-two percent of young millennials, ages 18-24, own a smartphone.

Mobile devices account for 71 percent of Americans’ digital time, and 81 percent of all mobile time is spent in apps, according to comScore. In fact, more people exclusively use their mobile devices to access the internet than there are people exclusively using their desktops to do so, comScore reports. Further, comScore says, more people now use mobile devices for online banking than use desktops.

Make no mistake, mobile continues to be on the move. In the very near future we will likely see a growing number of account holders who never walk into a branch, call their financial institution’s 800-number or interact with their banks in any way other than via their smartphones.

Missing out on mobile

Consumers have embraced mobile apps as a convenient way to interact with brands and businesses, including their financial institutions. Regardless of the size of your bank or credit union, the majority of your account holders almost certainly use apps regularly in their daily lives. They would probably like to use one for their banking needs, too.

Many of the products, services and priorities that modern bank customers care about can be supported through a quality mobile app. For example, in its 2016 North American Consumer Digital Banking Survey, Accenture cites four priorities for account holders: value, relationship, advice and branch access. A mobile app can help a bank deliver on all four priorities in the form of discount offers, by keeping customers engaged with loyalty programs, giving them access to content — including video — on managing their finances, and streamlining branch visits.

While multiple studies show that the majority of mobile banking is currently transactional, there are signs that the banking public is interested in expanding how they use mobile to interact with financial institutions. They’re already using mobile apps to check balances, deposits and payments, and monitor for fraud. Financial institutions have an opportunity to expand the services they provide through mobile apps to include personal financial advice, loyalty rewards point redemptions, initiation of loan applications and more.

More than half of bank customers polled in a Harris Survey said they believe mobile will change the way they bank in the future. If your financial institution is one of the 2,000 that still don’t have a mobile app, you’re not just missing out on current opportunities to connect with customers, but future ones as well.

This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.