Apps for financial services - Mobile World Live

Apps for financial services

17 SEP 2010

The mobile channel has been growing steadily in importance for the financial services sector, and according to a recent survey from Juniper Research eighty percent of banks now offer a mobile service.

Juniper also expects a surge in the number of consumers looking to obtain their bank balance while on the move, which will see more and more SMS messages being sent to consumers by banks. But where does this leave app developers and how can they help to build more sophisticated banking services via the mobile?

One of the biggest factors influencing mobile app adoption across the board is convenience. In no sector is this more relevant than financial services.

Banks’ customers are used to being able to choose from a selection of banking channels at their disposal. In recent years in particular, Internet banking has given consumers instant, 24/7 access to banking services.

What do consumers want from mobile banking apps?
IE carried out a recent survey with YouGov that revealed one in four of generation Y (aged between 18 and 34) would improve their opinion of their bank if it offered mobile phone banking services.

To ensure that customers migrate from indirect channels such as the ATM and branch services to use mobile banking, banks must take advantage of the potential to deliver sophisticated mobile banking applications.

The technological capability to deliver rich functionality in mobile banking apps already exists, for example allowing users to take advantage of special offers based on making purchases in the retail environment they are in close proximity to.

However, the critical success factor for developers is to combine the delivery of highly developed and feature-rich mobile banking services with an app that also boasts fast access and a straight-forward user interface.

This combination of features will help position mobile banking as a service that offers sufficient benefits to compel consumers to migrate away from more traditional banking channels in favour of the instant and sophisticated user experience mobile banking can offer.

Industry influences
In addition to customer demands, m-banking app developers must consider the need to work with somewhat disparate stakeholders, from financial institutions themselves to mobile operators, who all influence the customer experience.

Indeed, the relationships between handset manufacturers, operators and financial institutions are not yet well-established as mobile banking is somewhat in its infancy. Developers must unite the needs of these parties to deliver the same user experience across multiple platforms.

Juggling the demands from all parties is a challenge for app developers, particularly as there is a strong business case pushing both the telco and financial sector to investigate mobile banking applications.

Adoption of mobile banking
The user experience is critical to the success and widespread adoption of mobile banking solutions at this early stage in innovative application development. Particularly in developed nations such as the UK that enjoy an array of reliable and instant banking services already, mobile app developers must listen to the needs of consumers and ensure that the product they deliver not only meets the demands of the industry but also those early adopters that will turn mobile banking into a ubiquitous service in the future.


James Richards, Director of Mobile at IE

Intelligent Environments Group is a digital software provider for the financial services industry. Founded in 1985 and headquartered in Kingston-upon-Thames, UK, IE works with many of the country’s high street banks and building societies, providing solutions to help acquire new customers, improve customer service and reduce costs.


The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members


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