Mobile banking adoption by credit unions continues to trend upward, with the majority of credit unions surveyed in Callahan’s 2008 Technology Guide planning to invest in mobile banking technology over the next two years. Overall, about one-tenth of responding credit unions reported that they currently offered some type of mobile banking. However, about one-third of respondents did not currently offer mobile banking and anticipate no investments in mobile technology in 2008/2009.
Out of the Gate: No Clear Cut Technology Winner
Credit unions are split between adoption of WAP/browser-based mobile banking programs and SMS/Text messaging programs. While fewer credit unions mentioned plans for downloaded software, adoption of this technology may increase as more carriers implement pre-loaded software on their mobile phone options.
Some of the front-end issues that credit unions need to consider when selecting a technology include:
- Level of security: fraud and multi-factor authentication
- Compatibility with other systems such as online banking
- Desired transaction capabilities
- Member interest and need for information vs. transaction capabilities
- Local carrier considerations: compatibility with dominant local carriers
Note: Multiple responses permitted. Some credit unions plan to offer multiple technologies.
Member Preferences Vary
An Internet Strategy Consortium survey conducted in the past year revealed that many members did not have a good understanding of the relative advantages or differences between the various technologies. Credit unions can influence member perceptions by marketing the advantages of their mobile banking solution, and focusing on functionality. In the survey, members who reported being interested in using mobile banking to access their account were asked their preference among three main technologies. About one-third (35%) said they would prefer browser-based access (defined as using a browser to access a secure website) while only 17% preferred downloaded software (financial institution software downloaded to your phone). About one-fifth said they would use either method, while 27% remained unsure.
Current mobile internet users (46%) had a stronger preference for a browser-based version than non users (30%). Non-users were far more likely to say they were unsure (31%). However, given the strong interest in mobile banking functionality overall, it is likely that members will adopt their credit union’s selected technology as long as they are well informed about security and ease of use.
To hear insights on launching mobile banking, attend the August 21st webinar Key Steps to Success: Launching Mobile Banking. A discussion of segments to target for mobile services can be found in Demographics Matter to Mobile Banking Strategies. Additional information can be found in our recently released report, Integrating Mobile Banking into Your Retail Delivery Strategy: What do Members Really Want.