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7 Mobile Banking Features That Are Essential to Improving Your Customers’ Experience

Image of Karen Todd
Karen Todd
Man using phone for mobile banking

Especially since the pandemic began, consumers are demanding more and better electronic banking options. According to recent research conducted by Citizens Bank, “Most consumers now choose their banking partner based on mobile and online banking capabilities, with 40% of consumers saying it was the most important factor, while only 27% cite the convenience of physical branch locations as the most important factor.” 

Increasingly, your institution’s customers want control of their finances at their fingertips—specifically, on their phone. A recent survey by Insider Intelligence found that nearly 80% of respondents primarily conducted their banking on a mobile device. If your financial institution intends to compete with startups and mobile-first banks, you’ll need to meet these consumer demands with a great mobile banking experience.

In 2022 a great mobile banking experience means offering more than the basics. Of course, your customers expect speed, security, and simplicity. But now they also want more innovative mobile banking features that were once only available at a local branch or online.

But which mobile banking features can your financial institution offer to keep up with the competition? Here are seven new and essential mobile banking features you should consider adding now or in the near future:

  1. Enhanced card control
  2. Budgeting tools
  3. Account opening
  4. Text banking
  5. Business/commercial services
  6. Wearables and widgets
  7. Instant payments

For details on these seven features, read on.

 

1. Enhanced Card Control

Convenience isn’t the only motivation for consumers to use mobile banking. Sometimes reaction speed is also crucial, as in the case of possible credit or debit card fraud. Because of this, “in a 2021 survey, 47% of consumers ranked the ability to turn off a payment card in a mobile app as ‘extremely valuable.”

Another way you can help customers prevent fraud is by setting daily debit card limits that protect customers if their cards are lost or stolen.

However, those who regularly use their debit card and make large purchases from time to time may want a temporary higher daily debit card limit. Suppose your customer is at a furniture store considering a purchase that exceeds their daily limit. They want to set a higher temporary limit while they’re in the store. The ability to set temporary card limits using a mobile app makes it easier for a customer to request an increase to their limit and set an expiration date for it if they’re making a big purchase. This kind of convenience translates to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

 

2. Budgeting Tools

A recently added mobile banking category, money management, had the second most in-demand features in the Insider Intelligence study. Since consumers share their credit card and financial account information with numerous a number of services, it’s hard to keep track of which companies have access to their financial data.

A budgeting app helps your institution’s customers track their budgeting, categorization, spending, savings, etc., by pulling all data from other institutions into one application. For example, if a customer had accounts at your institution as well as at Discover and Chase, you could offer an app that will combine all their financial information from the three institutions so they can budget better.

What’s the advantage to your financial institution of offering a budgeting app? Any time you make a customer’s experience easier, you build loyalty. A budgeting app can help customers move money between accounts, and you can offer personalized recommendations for how to achieve their financial goals. This feature also gives your institution marketing opportunities if you offer a competitive advantage. For example, if the customer has a 5% loan at another institution but you can offer the same loan for 4%, you can win their business.

 

3. Account Opening

Applying for a new account can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience for your institution’s customers. Making this process easier for your existing customers can also increase customer loyalty. Consider allowing existing customers to apply for another account at your institution using your mobile banking app.

 

4. Text Banking Commands

Text banking allows customers to text the institution and get information quickly and easily, even if they don’t have mobile data available. The customer simply texts a command to the institution, and the institution sends back information or confirmation about the customer’s accounts.

With text banking, customers can perform tasks like the following:

  • check balances for deposit and loan accounts
  • review recent history
  • check the amount due on a loan

They can also set up text alerts for possible fraud, such as transactions made over certain amounts or from an unrecognized device. Because customers nearly always have their mobile devices at hand, they can view and respond to mobile alerts faster than to alerts sent to a computer.

 

5. Business/Commercial Services

Individuals aren’t the only ones clamoring for better mobile banking service. Businesses also need the speed and convenience of mobile banking to stay competitive.

The best mobile banking apps for business include not only the standard features of mobile banking like bill pay or photo deposits, but also business-specific features like the ability to transmit an ACH batch or transmit a wire.

Below are just a few reasons you should offer your commercial banking customers a robust mobile application.

  • Convenience
    If your business clients are currently driving to your institution to deposit checks, providing mobile check deposit will save them valuable time and money. Approving transactions directly from a phone, including ACH transfers for payroll, payments, and receivables has the same benefit. This feature is especially useful for business owners who travel frequently or who don’t spend a lot of time in front of a computer.
  • Limiting employee access
    With mobile banking, businesses can customize the level of access and control an employee has. For example, they can allow an employee to deposit checks on their smartphone without giving them access to view account numbers and balances or other sensitive data.
  • Constant access to account information

With mobile business banking, an account owner can view and manage the balance on the company’s account anytime and anywhere. This allows for tighter control on company budgets.

Small and large companies alike can use mobile banking to quickly solve financial problems. And if you solve your commercial account owners’ problems, they’ll stay with you.

 

6. Wearables and Widgets

Wearables are booming. In particular, smartwatches represent a major opportunity for financial institutions to appeal to a wide range of customers. By delivering smartwatch-ready apps, you can help your customers manage their finances more easily.

Wearables can also provide increased security. Many wearable devices use biometric security, such as fingerprints or other irreproducible physical signatures, to reduce the risk of fraud. Smartwatches are also hard to steal or lose while they’re worn. “The security of wearable banking supports their most important value add: They provide an opportunity to create more digital touch points with customers in order to make their experience frictionless and increase their use of digital banking.”

Widgets offer a quick way to access information from apps without having to open the app itself. One example is a calendar widget, which provides a quick view of the upcoming events in your calendar without having to open the calendar application. Although some devices come with certain default widgets, you can give your customers access to other widgets if they download the corresponding app.

 

7. Instant Payments

In the near future, it will be easy to offer instant payments to your institution’s customers. Mobile banking is an ideal way to enable your customers to use this cutting-edge technology.

The FedNow Service is a new instant payment service that the Federal Reserve Banks are developing to enable banks of every size, and in every community across the U.S., to provide safe and efficient instant payment services in real-time, around the clock, every day of the year.

Through financial institutions participating in the FedNow Service, businesses and individuals will be able to send and receive instant payments conveniently, and recipients will have full access to funds immediately, giving them greater flexibility to manage their money and make time-sensitive payments. Financial institutions and their service providers will be able to use the service as a springboard to provide innovative instant payment services to customers.

Instant payments have a number of characteristics that make them attractive in the digital economy. For one, they can leverage technology within mobile apps or online financial/bill payment service websites that allow end users to make payments without physical interaction.

These payments typically take only seconds to complete, and they make the funds available to the recipient almost immediately—a good option for managing cash flow and making time-sensitive payments. Finally, instant payments are well suited to support the delivery of rich details about the underlying transaction with the payment itself, opening the door to a host of new product and service opportunities.

 

Conclusion

With so many options to choose from, how do you know which mobile app is best? Before you choose a mobile app, make sure the app developers adhere to these best practices:

  • They’re responsive to what users want in the changing mobile environment.
  • They prioritize interoperability with outside services.
  • They resist the urge to make changes just for the sake of change.
  • They test, test, and test again before releasing fixes.
  • They recognize that users also use other apps and will move if your app doesn’t improve.
  • They think carefully before adding marketing messages or actual ads to functional pages.

Right now, your financial institution has the opportunity to help usher in the future of mobile banking and redefine the customer experience. With an excellent mobile banking app, you can lead the charge instead of falling behind the competition.

 

 

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